Monitoring Report on State Employment Programs for Persons with Disabilities
The Public Defender of Georgia has assessed the implementation of state employment programs intended for persons with disabilities. The special report analyzes the existing normative framework, including three state programs approved by the Government, as well as the information received from the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs and the LEPL Social Service Agency, and reflects the outcome of the meetings held with persons with disabilities in 6 cities of Georgia (Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Zugdidi, Ozurgeti and Telavi).
The monitoring carried out by the Department of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the Public Defender’s Office showed that despite the existence of a number of programmes and the state's declared will to ensure employment of persons with disabilities, the right of persons with disabilities to work cannot be properly realized due to the lack of effective mechanisms, safeguards, practical support and enforcement mechanisms.
The provisions of the country's legislation and strategic documents are quite general and declaratory, which impedes their effective implementation and monitoring. In addition, the measures envisaged by the state programmes are identical in some cases and are not supported by the survey results.
Problems of accessibility of physical environment, transport and working space are significant barriers for persons with disabilities in terms of going to the office, performing their duties and socializing with their colleagues. The economic profit received by persons with disabilities as a result of working is very low, which together with other additional barriers, makes working non-profitable. Furthermore, in case of employment in the public service, their families may lose a state allowance, while they may lose a social package.
The statistical data received from the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia show that the number of job seekers with disabilities involved in the programmes is much higher than the actual number of the employed, which proves that the problem of employment of these persons is not effectively solved. It is also noteworthy that the measures taken for controlling the quality of the employment service under the programmes are not sufficient and persons with disabilities and/or their representative organizations are not involved in the evaluation or monitoring of the implementation of the programmes.
Awareness raising campaigns aimed at eliminating stereotypes and negative myths need to be strengthened. In addition, it is important to raise the motivation and awareness of persons with disabilities about the services and programmes offered by the state.