Campaigns and activities
Measures to support employers
Measures to support workers with disabilities
Employment on the open labour market
Employment in the supported / sheltered sector
Employment in the public sector
Employment of blind and partially sighted women
Vocational rehabilitation and training
Incentive measures to employ workers with disabilities
Legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities
Main occupations performed by workers with a visual impairment
Looking for a job
Legal recognition of disabled worker status
Trade unions and workers with disabilities
The Ministry of Social Affairs provides subsidies (in form of a premium) for employers hiring people with disabilities. There are also subsidies for making their environment accessible and for further education and training.
Workers with disabilities have the right to personal assistance at the workplace and to reasonable accommodation of the workplace. There is higher employment protection for workers with disabilities (minimum of 4 weeks notice and the employers need the approval of the disability council before they can dismiss them). In most cases they are granted more vacation days and they can apply for a tax reduction. Employers have to provide trainings in working with people with disabilities for their other staff members.
Discrimination against people with disabilities in general and workers with disabilities in particular is prohibited by law. It concerns the employment as such, the wages as well as training and education measures, promotion and the general working conditions. In cases of discrimination, conciliatory proceedings can take place.
There are many projects and organizations working on the inclusion of workers with disabilities in the open labor market. They focus on different clients or services, e.g. people with mental disabilities, academics with disabilities or visually impaired people like the training center of the Austrian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted, SEBUS, which provides vocational training and helps with the application process and job interviews.
Unfortunately, there are many disabled workers in the sheltered sector. Workers in those day care centers have regular working hours in which they produce goods or provide services, but their work is not classified as gainful employment. Therefore, they are not covered by any wage agreements and minimum wages don't apply, which means that they are left with a kind of pocket money only. They are not fully insured and have no right to pensions; also there is no statistical data on employment in the sheltered sector available.
Although the employment of workers with disabilities in the public sector is regulated by law, it is mostly NGOs which employ people with disabilities; most public enterprises prefer to pay a fine for not hiring (enough) workers with disabilities.
There are no special regulations provided by law but their exceptional tactile sense is at the moment being used to create new job opportunities in the field of breast cancer screening. Nevertheless, the percentage of employed visually impaired men is much higher than the percentage of visually impaired women.
There are special funding schemes in place. People with disabilities are given the priority right to own tobacconists.
There is the right to rehabilitation. In case that the original job can no longer be performed, there is the right to vocational retraining which is being paid for by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
There are incentives in the form of yearly premiums for every trainee with disabilities that is trained. There is monetary assistance for the so called incorporation of workers with disabilities as well as for education and training costs and for the reasonable accommodation in the workplace.
Enterprises are required by law to employ one person with a disability per 25 employees. If they fail to higher (enough) workers with disabilities they have to pay a fine.
See question 4.
In addition, there is an institution called „Work and Disability“ run by the national job center and the Ministry of Social Affairs, providing support and counselling interviews.
Visually impaired workers can be found in a wide range of occupations. They work in all kinds of offices, do manual labor, work as massage therapists, teachers, journalists or in NGOs.
See questions 4 and 12.
With a disability status of 50% or higher, workers are legally recognized as disabled workers and have a right to receive the above (question 2) mentioned benefits. To get this status, they need to apply at the Ministry of Social Affairs with personal and medical documents, then the Ministry assesses their status.
There are no special trade unions for workers with disabilities.