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International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011, Special release
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In September 2011 the registered unemployment rate for persons with disabilities in Slovenia was around 35%. In 2010, disabled people in full-time employment were receiving on average 75% of the average gross earnings.

Photo: Tamino Petelinšek /STAIn October 1992 the United Nations adopted a resolution proclaiming 3 December the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with the intention to promote understanding of disability, striving for dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities and awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled people into political, social, economic and cultural life.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an opportunity to reflect on the right of disabled people to social inclusion and provision of equal opportunities. Every year the event focuses on a different theme; this year’s slogan is “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development”.

A billion of people live with disability

According to the United Nations convention, persons with disabilities are people with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments that, in the face of various negative attitudes or physical obstacles, may prevent those persons from participating fully in society.

Disability is more widespread in the world than has previously been estimated. According to World Health Organisation and World Bank estimates, about 15% of the world’s population live with disability, i.e. over a billion people. Around 785 million or 15.6% of the world’s population over 15 years of age are disabled, of whom between 110 and 190 million are faced with severe problems in everyday life.

The number of persons with disabilities is growing. The main reasons are population ageing and increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental illness.
In the EU every sixth person (about 80 million people) has some type of disability.

In Slovenia an estimated 8% of people with disabilities

In Slovenia it has been estimated that between 160,000 and 170,000 people are disabled (disabled workers, children and youth with special needs, military and war disabled, and moderately, seriously or severely mentally and physically disabled persons). Legislation takes care of most of the major factors that promote the development of disability policy and regulate the social status of persons with disabilities in various areas such as independent living, accessibility, schooling, training, employment, technical aids, rehabilitation, etc.

Higher unemployment among persons with disabilities

The opportunities of persons with disabilities to gain and maintain suitable employment and to gain promotion are smaller due to their physical or mental disability. Unemployment among persons with disabilities is therefore significantly higher. In September 2011 almost 16,400 persons with disabilities in Slovenia were unemployed, which is around 15% of all registered unemployed persons. On the other hand, 30,400 persons with disabilities were employed (16,600 men and 13,800 women) or 3.8% of all persons in employment (persons in paid employment and self-employed persons, excluding farmers).

The number of persons with disabilities among persons in employment is increasing with age; among persons in employment who are under 40 years of age every 94th is disabled, among those aged 40 to 49 years every 22nd is disabled and among those aged 50+ every 11th is disabled.

In Slovenia employment rehabilitation and employment of persons with disabilities are legally regulated, there is a quota system of employing disabled persons. An important way of employing disabled persons is employment in special enterprises employing people with disabilities, which represent a special form of social economy since they employ and train disabled persons who due to disability could not get a job or keep it at employers in normal working environment. At the end of 2010 there were 160 special enterprises employing people with disabilities in Slovenia; they employed almost a fifth of employed persons with disabilities.

Most of the persons with disabilities perform elementary occupations

Persons with disabilities are on average less educated and have lower paid jobs. In December 2010 just over 31% of disabled persons in employment had elementary education, about 58% had upper secondary education and just over 10% had tertiary education. For comparison, the shares for all persons in employment (excluding farmers) are 14% with elementary education and 27% with tertiary education.

Most of the persons with disabilities are employed in manufacturing (38%), followed by human health and social work activities (11%) and wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (8%). At the end of 2010 persons with disabilities most frequently performed elementary occupations (21%); they were followed by craft and related trades workers (18%), while 8% of them were professionals.

According to provisional data, in 2010 average monthly gross earnings of persons with disabilities amounted to EUR 1,155, which was about 75% of average monthly gross earnings in Slovenia (the calculation takes into account persons who worked full time and were employed the whole year with the same employer).

Sporting achievements

Disability can be acquired at birth or during a person’s life. However, physical or mental disability does not necessarily mean that one can not live a healthy and sporting life. According to data provided by the Sports Federation for the Disabled of Slovenia, every year around 1,100 persons with disabilities participate in the system of national championships and around 170 as part of the national team representing Slovenia at international championships. Slovene athletes generally achieve good results at international competitions.

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