Companies whose main goal is to provide jobs for disabled workers
There are currently two ways of integrating disabled workers into the labour market. On the one hand, by integrating them directly into the open labour market and on the other hand, by integrating them into a protected market through sheltered employment centres.
All private and public companies that have over fifty workers in their staff with indefinite contracts have the obligation to guarantee that at least 2% of them are disabled workers. In the case of the Public Administration 5% of its positions must be allocated to disabled workers. However, due to the low compliance with the quotas established, alternative measures can be adopted since the year 2000, such as hiring goods or services through sheltered employment centres.
Sheltered Employment are Social Economy companies that combine economic viability and their participation in the market with their social commitment towards those groups that have fewer opportunities in the labour market. Their structure and organization is the same as in regular companies.
The policy of these centres is to hire the maximum number of disabled workers (without disrupting production capacity), a number that can in no case be under 70% of the overall staff.
Sheltered Employment can be created by public and private institutions or by companies
Besides offering paid jobs to the disabled, Sheltered Employment offer permanent training and support to these workers, both at a professional and personal level, favouring their integration into the open labour market.
Sheltered Employment competes with all other regular companies in the labour market and has become a great source of employment for the disabled. In addition, they play a significant role in their social integration by introducing them into the labour market. There is no doubt that having a stable, well paid job leads to economic independence and therefore enhances the social integration of the disabled. Furthermore, it builds their self esteem and confidence
Sheltered Employment rely on highly qualified professionals and on the use of the new technologies. These assets are the key to overcoming the great difficulties arising from disabilities and to guaranteeing high competition levels.
In order to create a Sheltered Employment, an economic report must first approve the feasibility of the project. In addition, the following requirements must be met:
- Hire workers with a degree of disability that is equal or greater than 33% that are willing to provide their services on behalf of the Centre or within the Centre, or submit a declaration stating that he/she can count on such workers
- Submit documents that certify the identity of the owner of the company
- Express a firm and explicit commitment to offer the relevant training to all disabled workers
- Register the centre in the Registry of the General Directorate for Employment and Labour Relations
Labour Enclaves; creating jobs for the most vulnerable groups within the regular working environment, thus enhancing their access to the open labour market
Labour enclaves allow Sheltered Employment to transfer their disabled workers to the companies to which they render their services and products. Thanks to these enclaves, disabled workers can integrate themselves into the normal working environment -adopting the habits and skills required at work- and relate with non-disabled workers. As they do so, they are being constantly monitored and supported by their Sheltered Employment. Enclaves are also a fast and easy way of creating stable jobs in normal companies.
Positive discrimination measures
Other tools that have proved to be highly efficient are the Sheltered Employment Support Units. Their main goal is to eliminate the obstacles that disabled workers find at work.
These support units are composed of a team of professionals whose role is to develop training programs, offer direct assistance to the disabled at work, provide support whenever there is a lack of progress, enhance the independence and autonomy of disabled workers, implement promotion plans, establish ties with the workers working environment, etc.
All these supports are aimed at workers with intellectual disabilities, mental illness or other special difficulties in employment.