Employment Policy

Our work on employment policy

The right to work and employment is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, it is also far from being a reality for millions of persons with disabilities willing to work.

Across the EU, persons with disabilities are far less likely to be employed than persons without disabilities. The latest available EU-level data is from 2019 and shows that persons with disabilities in the EU are 24.4 percentage points less likely to be employed than persons without disabilities. Only 50.8 percent of persons with disabilities are employed, compared to 75 percent of persons without disabilities. The situation is even worse for women with disabilities. On average only 48.3% of women with disabilities are in employment. The figures are even lower when looking at full-time employment with solely 20.6% of women with disabilities and 28.5% of men with disabilities working full-time. Among the most affected are persons with psychosocial disabilities and persons with intellectual disabilities.

The barriers to quality employment add to the problem of poverty and social exclusion faced by persons with disabilities. The latest EU-level figures from Eurostat suggest that 28.4% of all persons with disabilities in the EU live in poverty. 

For the European Disability Forum, guaranteeing access to employment and occupation in the open labour market is a key issue, as it is a crucial aspect for the economic and social inclusion of 100 million persons with disabilities in Europe.

Unemployment may lead to poverty and social exclusion. Barriers preventing access to the employment market are most of the times based on misconceptions and judgments on a person’s abilities. That is why EDF works on various levels to develop legislation in the field and to promote positive action in the labour market.

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