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The labor market for people with disabilities does not recover after the covid

Date: January 27, 2023 Time: 23:32:52

In the last week of the year, the Vice President and Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz, made an assessment of the effects generated by the labor reform in its first year of validity. The leader of the space to the left of the PSOE within the Government, emphasized the good results that the norm had had to reduce the temporary employment of the youngest and register the historical maximum of women working, a figure close to 9.5 million. However, she did not allude to the characteristics were the employment data of people with disabilities. The social representatives transmitted to La Información that by the end of 2022 this group has not experienced a sufficient improvement in employment to reach the levels prior to the pandemic.

“The pandemic was a severe blow to the employment of people with disabilities,” acknowledges Virginia Carcedo, General Secretary and Director of Transformation and Excellence at Fundación ONCE. “We came from record numbers, we had chained 6 uninterrupted years of growth and we already exceeded 350,000 annual contracts” -she recalls- however, the arrival of the coronavirus was a bump that ended up reversing the trend. In 2020, the hiring of people with some type of disability fell by 30%. A year later, it grew 24%, but this improvement was only used to recover 2016 levels.

The latest data published by the National Statistics Institute (INE) refer to the year 2021, so it is not possible to measure how employment has evolved throughout this year using this tool. However, there are indicators such as the Boletín de Paro y Contratos prepared by the Community of Madrid that show other positive signs. The latest record, from the month of September, shows that in the capital there are 17% fewer unemployed with disabilities than on the same date the previous year. And this drop is reflected in all sectors, being Industry, Construction and Agriculture where the unemployment of this group is most reduced. In addition, the hiring of first jobs stands out, where unemployment fell to 26%.

Signs of recovery that will not reach pre-covid levels

On the other hand, the number of contracts only increased by 2.45% compared to the same date in 2021. In the ninth month of 2022 there were 45 more people with disabilities working in the Community of Madrid than in the previous year, although the difference monthly was 700, an increase close to 60%. Although this is just a sample. From the ONCE they are positive regarding the results of the year that is ending and highlight that only in the first quarter 240,000 people with disabilities signed a contract at some point in Spain, which represents an improvement of 10% compared to the previous March. “The recovery is difficult, but employment is gradually activating and 2022 will surely be a better year than 2021,” says Virginia.

On the other hand, Javier Fort, president of the Federation of Associations of People with Physical and Organic Disabilities of the Community of Madrid (FAMMA) assures that the important thing is to take as a reference the dates prior to the pandemic, a period in which there was destruction of employment and excuses for hiring people with disabilities. “We have not yet reached an optimal way to be able to say that we have recovered employment. The dates prior to the covid must be taken as a reference and of course we are still quite far from there,” he says in a telephone conversation with La Información.

Differences by age groups

Within the group there are also strong differences in employment insertion between the different ages. “Employment is the final consequence of all personal and professional development of people. That is, if we have had problems accessing the educational field and we have not been able to train due to the punishment that architectural barriers caused to people with disabilities, It’s very easy to get a job,” he says. This is something that especially affects people over 45 of working age, since the situation was very different from that of a few decades ago, says Javier, which explains a significant part of unemployment.

The youngest also face barriers, but those who have a university education increase their chances of being hired, they point out from FAMMA. Although this is not the complete picture, since the ONCE Foundation estimated that 65% of the 150,000 people with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 29 were unemployed. A fact that Yolanda Díaz’s ministry also referred to in the 2022 report ‘Labor Market for Persons with Disabilities’, noting that hiring in the previous year had improved in all age groups, with the exception of youths. In addition, according to the data compiled by the INE, only 1.7% of young people under 25 years of age were employed in 2021.

A more inclusive labor market

People with disabilities have three ways to access a job: the special employment centers in which the Many companies resort to these first centers to fill the positions for the group, says Javier, which is far from ideal, given that he understands that ordinary employment offers the best integration. However, he values ​​positively the impact on employment of this formula and advocates that these centers continue to exist, since they carry positive features such as collective agreements.

This is precisely the main claim of FAMMA in labor matters, that social clauses are incorporated into collective agreements for a more standardized incorporation. Through points that refer, for example, to health situations, needs in the employment center, supporting personal assistance in the work environment, something will have a great impact on the inclusion of dependent people or carrying out socialization activities , which is even more important after the pandemic period in which teleworking has contributed to isolating people with disabilities.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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