More disabled jobs from 2014

Ministry of Labour promises to increase the number of jobs for disabled people during 2014


Moscow, 6 March 2014

Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, and the head of the Ministry of Labour, Maksim Topilin, have both spoken of the need to increase the number of jobs for disabled people.

In an interview with Russian and foreign broadcasters on the Paralympics, Putin explained that the importance of creating jobs for disabled people was a “key” issue for him. “The necessary measures are being put in place for businesses but, at present, far too little is being achieved. Our challenge is to ensure that the Paralympics is used to remind society and people at all levels of management of the need to get disabled individuals into work”, Putin added.

The head of the Ministry for Labour stated that increasing the number of jobs for disabled people would continue during 2014. With this in mind, the state has set aside nearly 4 billion roubles from the federal budget.

The Ministry for Labour is preparing changes to more than 20 laws in order to create improved access to services by disabled people. A head of department remarked that Russia lacks the know-how for providing essential services for people with different levels of disability, and can only make recommendations as to how this can be achieved. He therefore suggests creating a new legal framework, which will involve developing well-defined criteria designed to improve the quality of life of disabled people, according to the newspaper “Rossiskaya Gazeta”.

The Chairman of the Russian Council for Disabled People, Mikhail Suzdaltsev, told the Public Chamber Tribune that resolving employment problems required an improved relationship between disabled people and social workers, with the latter “responsible for establishing how a disabled person is living and determining their needs”. Suzdaltsev says that social workers should ideally maintain close liaison with social employment centres.

“It’s not simply down to a disabled person to go somewhere and pester someone to find something out. It’s a problem that needs to be sorted out by qualified people. It seems to me that, in such cases, it is the responsibility of employment centres to advertise job vacancies. Only when close contact has been put in place will we get a grip on the situation. Social workers will then clearly know what job can be provided for a disabled person” Suzdaltsev explained.

A member of the Public Chamber and President of the Regional Civic Organisation which assists in the protection of children’s rights “Rights of the Child”, Boris Altshuler, stated that the problems articulated by the Ministry for Labour should have been resolved a long time ago. “This problem has been festering for ages” he says. “Russia has been seriously lagging behind the civilised world in providing normal conditions for the lives of disabled people. In reality, we have now arrived at a critical point – in fact one could say at a revolutionary moment”.

He emphasised that measures such as potential allocation of resources for building institutional care homes for disabled people will not help here since a “such a home is not somewhere where people would normally be. “The whole system needs to be changed as a matter of urgency as part of the Law on Social Services,” according to Altshuler. “Emphasis must now be placed on providing services to people in the home.” All this is set out in the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People which Russia ratified somewhere a year ago. These measures should be implemented under the terms of this Convention. These changes are about to be introduced within the Federation Council”.

Altshuler welcomes the growth of apartment-style institutional care homes with living accommodation
(where a number of disabled people live together, with the support of specialist workers). This is accompanied by work placements where the specialist helps a disabled person into employment.

“Social services must be provided to people in the home and the family! In Norway, 80% of social services are provided in the home, compared to only 5% in Russia. When help was first set up in 1995, it was instrumental in saving the lives of many disabled people who, up until then, had died from hunger or sheer helplessness. This is an area that the new law on social services needs to strengthen. We must help disabled people to remain within a social environment” says the human rights activist.

Author: Daria Shapovalova

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