On November 19 2020, MEP Langensiepen hosted a seminar on the employment-related situation of persons with disabilities at which, Autism-Europe’s director Aurélie Baranger presented on the situation of autistic people and employment. She addressed how unemployment disproportionally affects autistic people and outlined the need for reasonable accommodation, positive action as well as clear targets and data collection for all types of disabilities. This webinar was the opportunity to highlight key issues included in a report on the equal treatment of persons with disabilities in employment, to which AE contributed.
Discussions about the employment-related situation of persons with disabilities are taking place at a critical time as the European Commission is currently drafting the new post-2020 Disability Strategy. The seminar addressed what points should be included in the post-2020 disability strategy regarding employment. AE calls for an ambitious strategy in order to drive change and provide better conditions for persons with disabilities in the European Union.
Since June 2020, Autism-Europe has been working closely with MEP Katrin Langensiepen (Greens/EFA) to draft a report on the equal treatment of persons with disabilities in employment. The draft report outlines the current situation and discusses the inequality of and the discrimination against persons with disabilities in the labour market. It was made clear in the report that Member States and the European Union are not yet meeting their commitments to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Employment brings many a sense of purpose and is essential for building relationships with others and for gaining the financial means to live a healthy and happy life. Unfortunately, as the report points out, many people with disabilities lack access to employment opportunities and are often discriminated against and excluded due to their disability.
To produce the report, MEP Langensiepen involved several disability and human rights related NGO’s, including Autism-Europe, in a series of meetings over the summer to provide input for the drafting. During the inclusive and participatory process, those involved discussed and agreed upon different measures that should be taken on a European and national level in order to guarantee work in diversity.
On October 15th, MEP Langensiepen presented the draft report to the EMPL committee of the European Parliament. In her speech she highlighted what is needed in order to create an inclusive and accessible workplace for people with disabilities. Among some of the points made, she stressed the importance of fully implementing the UNCRPD, having clear EU guidelines on reasonable accommodation in workplaces and involving people with disabilities in policy and decision making.