Disability, Work and Inclusion

Mainstreaming in All Policies and Practices

image of Disability, Work and Inclusion

One in seven working-age adults identifies as having a disability in OECD countries, a share that is also substantial and growing among young people (8% in 2019). Many of them are excluded from meaningful work and have low levels of income and social engagement. This report documents the current labour market situation of people with disability, who continue to face large employment, unemployment and poverty gaps compared with people without disability. The report concludes that the goal set up some twenty years ago of making disability policies pro-active and employment-oriented has not been achieved. In particular, key areas of disability policy have received too little attention so far, such as policies to support young people with disability, improve the skills of people with disability, and intervene early in the course of a health problem or disability. The report calls for rigorous disability mainstreaming in all relevant policies and practices as the missing link to better labour market inclusion.


Assessment and recommendations

This chapter summarises the findings and conclusions of the OECD study on Disability, Work and Inclusion. The chapter argues that a rigorous disability mainstreaming approach is needed that affects all policies and practices. Rather than continuing to treat people with disability differently and to develop new special support tools, mainstream systems and services must be accountable for being disability-inclusive and develop the capacity to help people with health problems or disability in the same way as other clients. While the employment-oriented policy paradigm put forward by the OECD about 20 years ago remains valid, the chapter also argues that three aspects must receive more attention: helping young people with disability into employment; making people with disability competitive in the labour market; and helping much faster when people become sick or unemployed.


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