International Day of persons with Disabilities

In September 2014, 15.7% of all registered unemployed persons in Slovenia were persons with disabilities.

In September 2014, 15.7% of all registered unemployed persons in Slovenia were persons with disabilities.

  • 1 December 2014 at 10:30
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In October 1992 the United Nations adopted a resolution proclaiming 3 December the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, with a view to promote a better understanding of the issues associated with disability, fundamental rights of persons with disabilities and inclusion of persons with disabilities in life. It is important to be aware of the fact that disabled persons are equal members of society who can contribute their best efforts and enrich the political, social, economic and cultural life.

Definition of persons with disabilities

Definitions of and criteria for disability used by the EU Member States vary depending on the political objectives, applicable legislation and administrative standards, which makes accurate assessment of the situation of persons with disabilities in the EU a bit more difficult. However, there is a general consensus, supported by all Member States and the European Community by having signed the United Nations Convention, which confirms the social model that defines the types of disability and treatment of disability from the perspective of human rights.

Disability is a concept that is constantly evolving. Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stipulates that persons with disabilities are ”those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others".

According to the World Health Organization, the number of persons with disabilities is growing as a result of population ageing (higher share of older persons with disabilities and longer life expectancy of ageing persons with disabilities) and the increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental disorders. Already more than a billion people in the world live with some form of disability, of whom almost 200 million experience considerable difficulties in functioning. More than 45 million people in Europe (one in six) aged between 15 and 64 years have long-standing problems or the status of persons with disabilities.

Many persons with disabilities do not have equal access to health care, education and employment opportunities, services they need, and are often excluded from everyday activities. A person in Slovenia acquires the status of a person with disability by a final decision of the competent authority on the basis of relevant law.

The number of persons with disabilities

More than 15% of the total EU population are persons with disabilities. In Slovenia the share is around 12-13% of the total population, which does not differ significantly from the estimates for the EU. There are no official data on the number of persons with disabilities in Slovenia; the number is estimated on the basis of registers of each category of disability. It is estimated that there are between 160,000 and 170,000 persons with disabilities in Slovenia (disabled persons in employment, children and youth with special needs, military and war disabled and moderately and severely mentally disabled and physically handicapped). Approximately 8% of persons with disabilities have a decision on disability according to various laws; the remaining 5% (according to estimates by disability organizations and membership) are persons with greater physical impairment.

How do persons with disabilities live and work?

In Slovenia, approximately 4% of all employees are persons with disabilities. The number of disabled employees is approximately the same as in the previous years under normal work environments, which include all jobs in the public and private sectors in the compulsory quota system of employment of persons with disabilities (i.e. the obligation of employers to employ a certain percentage of persons with disabilities).

Employment of persons with disabilities is regulated differently across countries. In international documents work and employment of persons with disabilities is mostly regulated in the open market. Persons who are not fully capable are employed in specific forms or under specific conditions. In Slovenia such role is played by enterprises employing persons with disabilities, employment centers and centers for protection and training. Enterprises employing persons with disabilities are companies of special importance intended primarily to provide jobs for the disabled who can not find employment in the open market. Similar companies in Slovenia started to be set up before 1976, namely through the establishment of sheltered workshops and later businesses. According to the latest available data, there are 151 enterprises employing persons with disabilities in Slovenia.

As regards activities, in 2013 persons with disabilities were mostly employed in manufacturing, around 10,700, of whom just over 6,800 men, followed by health and social work activities, about 3,700, of whom just over 3,000 women, and wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, 2,600, the same share of men and women.

According to data from the Employment Service of Slovenia, the share of persons with disabilities among the registered unemployed persons is slowly decreasing. In October 2014 more than 17,500 registered unemployed persons were persons with disabilities. From January to October 2013 more than 2,600 persons with disabilities were employed, which was the level of employment in the whole year 2012, when fewer than 2,700 persons with disabilities were employed. The structural problem of persons with disabilities is particularly long-term unemployment, which is mainly affected by low educational level and older age of these persons. Among all unemployed persons with disabilities approximately 80% were the long-term unemployed (the same as in 2012).

Unemployed persons who are likely to have lasting consequences of physical or mental disease or defect and therefore have greater barriers in employment and are not able to exercise their rights under other laws are included in the procedures according to the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons Act. According to the Employment Service of Slovenia, in 2013 the Rehabilitation Commission examined more than 680 people and newly included in vocational rehabilitation services more than 1,000 people.

Table 1: Unemployed persons with disabilities and all unemployed persons, Slovenia, 2008-2013

Source: Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development

Among all persons with disabilities fewer than 30% are persons in employment; all others are disability pensioners or recognized as unemployable or incapable of independent life and work. In September 2014 among persons in employment (excluding farmers) more than 30,800 were persons with disabilities. Most of them were insured (more than 19,200) who have acquired the status of a disabled worker II. and III, respectively, according to Article 60 of the Pension and Disability Insurance Act (ZPIZ-1-UPB2).
According to the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute, the number of disability pensioners in 2013 decreased by more than 1,000 persons to more than 88,300. In the last few years this number has been constantly decreasing, with the exception of 2005. The average age of women who were granted the right to a disability pension in 2013 was 51 years and 2 months and of men 53 years and 10 months. In both cases, the average retirement ages in each calendar years fluctuate. The average period of receiving a disability pension was extended in 2013, namely for women to 24 years and 6 months and for men to 18 years and 8 months.

This year the government adopted the Action Programme for Persons with Disabilities 2014-2021. The purpose of this programme of action is to promote, protect and ensure full and equal enjoyment of the rights of persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their dignity. In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, accessibility is one of the pillars of the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which aims to create a barrier-free Europe for all.

Chart 1: Share of persons in relation to health problems by age groups, EU-28 and selected countries, June 2014

Source: Eurostat
When making use of the data and information of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, always add: "Source: SURS". More: Copyright.