Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

The Effect of Social Transfers on the Level of Unemployment of Disabled in Eu

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

The Effect of Social Transfers on the Level of Unemployment of Disabled in Eu

Article excerpt

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One out of every six EU citizens between 16 and 64 is reported to have a long-standing health problem or disability although one third of those persons do not experience any restriction in their working abilities (Greve, 2009). These people may suffer difficulties in looking for and maintaining job, resulting in substantial unemployment within this segment of population. The levels of unemployment among disabled in European Union range from 4,9% in Luxembourg to 28,2 in Spain depending on the country and the extent of disability (see table 1). Existing results suggest that the situation is worse for disabled people with low education, for women than for men, for people with intellectual impairments and mental health conditions (Holland, et al., 2011; Greve, 2009; Applica et al, 2007; Achterberg et al., 2009).

Severe unemployment among disabled people most of the EU countries attempt to relieve by adopting numerous strategies (Strielkowski and Hnevkovský, 2013). Contrary to earlier strategies, that focused at providing special conditions for employment of disabled, designed to take into account what the disabled cannot do, the recent employment strategies adopted in EU countries focus mostly on what disabled can do (see Ren L. R., et al., 2008 for the description of the concept). The main idea is to integrate disabled to the workforce rather than provide them with sheltered employment and other less valued compensatory employment (Greve, 2009). The current strategies focus on supporting part time work and job flexibility (shorter working hours, flexible attendance, work breaks, etc.) in the boundaries of regular employment. To motivate employers to provide disabled with such work contracts, most of European countries maintain some form of employment quotas for disabled with or without sanctions.

While quotas may do their job if enforced, there are also some arguments against quotas. The first problem states that quotas are not always implemented fully (Gundersen, 2008; Greve, 2009). For example in Austria only 30% of companies obeyed the quota for disabled in 2002 (Zelderloo and Reynaert, 2007; Greve, 2009). In some countries, quota places may be traded. For example in the Czech Republic companies can reduce the minimal number of disabled necessary to employ if they buy products from other firms, which employ more than 50% of disabled. This practice provides the companies a legal opportunity not to comply with quotas. In addition, in order to fulfill the quota in the easiest and quickest way the firms may go for internal rather than external employment and target those disabled, who are the closest to the labor market leaving the others unattended. On the other hand, those disabled who get the employment, may pave the way to others, who are far from the labor market and motivate them look for a job as well (Greve, 2009).

While all these policies are important and admirable, this paper suggests that it is vital that disabled people have at least minimal resources to be able to efficiently look and find a job. Given current tendency to integrate disabled to overall labor market as opposed to sheltered employment, the importance of resources gets even higher. Given that many disabled have to rely on the state for the minimal standard of well-being, it seems reasonable to suggest, that the state is to provide the necessary funds in the form of social transfers for disabled.

In other words, we suggest that in order to find a job, disabled person needs to possess certain commodities and services. Efficient telephone line and internet enables disabled persons to stay in contact with the job market, improve their qualification, efficiently apply for a job and be able to respond the offers of prospective employers adequately and timely. Ability to use public or other types of transportation enables disabled persons to transport themselves to the workplace and increase their chances of employment. …

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