Belgium - Article 27

Article 27

Measures to support employers
Measures to support workers with disabilities
Discrimination
Employment on the open labour market
Employment in the supported / sheltered sector
Employment in the public sector
Employment of blind and partially sighted women
Self-employment
Vocational rehabilitation and training
Incentive measures to employ workers with disabilities
Legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities
Vocational counselling
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
 

Measures to support employers

There are three levels of legislation in Belgium: federal, regional and community. The 1963 Social Rehabilitation Act (“Loi de Réhabilitation Sociale”) is the main piece of federal legislation governing disability and employment. It applies to both the private and public sectors. In addition, decrees are issued by each of the three Communities (Flemish, French, and German speakers) and the regional governments in each of the three Regions (Flemish, Walloon and Brussels regions).
Public funding to support employers is delivered by a specific organisation: the Disability Community Agency. There are 4 such Agencies in Belgium, each catering to one linguistic Community only.
During the “adaptation period” of the disabled worker, the relevant Agency pays for the worker's health insurance costs. The adaptation period lasts from 1 to 3 years (depending on the region). The Agency may also fund part of the disabled worker's wage during that period.
Employers who hire a disabled worker may receive an inclusion bonus (“prime d'intégration”) of up to 25% of the total wage cost.
Employers who appoint an employee to mentor a newly recruited disabled worker may receive a mentoring bonus (“prime de tutorat d'entreprise”) in the form of two instalments of 750 Euros. The mentoring employee must write 3 progression reports to the Disability Community Agency.
Practical measures taken to hire a disabled worker, such as specific equipment on the premises, can be compensated through public funding via the Agency. However this does not apply to adjustments and arrangements in working hours and shift.

Private sector employers may also receive wage subsidies (averaging 30 to 50%) if they hire disabled workers with reduced productivity. Wage subsidies are granted on an annual basis as part of Labour Regulation Number 26 (“Convention collective numero 26 de 1975, 26 bis de 1988, 26 ter de 1989”).

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Measures to support workers with disabilities

Workers with disabilities are entitled to funding towards transportation costs, and where applicable work tools or professional clothing.

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Discrimination

The 2007 Anti-Discrimination Law (“Loi du 10 mai 2007 adaptant le Code judiciaire à la législation tendant à lutter contre les discriminations et réprimant certains actes inspirés par le racisme ou la xénophobie“) is the main federal legislation on discrimination in Belgium.
It covers access to goods and services (including housing, insurance, shops); both public and private sector employment; access to health services and social security; participation in and access to any form of economic, social, cultural or political public activity.
This legislation defines and addresses direct discrimination and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination refers to instances such as the refusal to hire someone based on his or her visual impairment. Indirect discrimination refers to situations where a blind person is denied access to a shop because guide dogs are banned. These acts are considered as discriminatory and can be brought before the courts of justice
Workers can call on the Social Inspection Service (“Contrôle des lois sociales”) which handles complaints based on legal breach including discrimination. This Service has the authority and powers to draft reports (which are recognised by the courts of justice) and undertake both out-of-court procedures and lawsuits.
A specific organisation has also been set up, the Equality Centre (“Le Centre pour l'égalité des chances et la lutte contre le racisme“, or Centre for the promotion of equal opportunities and the fight against racism) where legal experts may also undertake out-of-court procedures and lawsuits.

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Employment on the open labour market

There are three levels of legislation in Belgium: federal, regional and community. The 1963 Social Rehabilitation Act (“Loi de Réhabilitation Sociale”) is the main piece of federal legislation governing disability and employment. It applies to both the private and public sectors. In addition, decrees are issued by each of the three Communities (Flemish, French, and German speakers) and the regional governments in each of the three Regions (Flemish, Walloon and Brussels regions).

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Employment in the supported / sheltered sector

There are three levels of legislation in Belgium: federal, regional and community. The 1963 Social Rehabilitation Act (“Loi de Réhabilitation Sociale”) is the main piece of federal legislation governing sheltered employment. In addition, sheltered employment decrees have been issued by the three Communities (Flemish, French, and German speakers) and by the three regional governments (in the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels regions).
Disabled workers must be registered with a specific organisation: the Disability Community Agency. There are 4 such Agencies, each catering to a linguistic Community.
• VAPH (Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap) is the Flemish Agency which caters to Flemish-speakers residing in the Flemish region and in the Brussels Region
• SBFPH (Service Bruxellois Francophone des Personnes Handicapées) is the Brussels-Capital Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Brussels Region
• AWIPH (Agence Walonne pour l'Intégration des Personnes Handicapées) is the Walloon Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Walloon Region
• DPB (Dienststelle für Personen mit Behinderung) is the Agency catering to German-speakers residing in the Walloon Region
Most sheltered workplaces are private non-profit organisations known as Adapted Companies (“entreprises de travail adapté”). They are funded by the Agencies. Many such work places also operate as subcontractors to other companies in the non sheltered sector.
The sheltered sector receives about 80% of the public funds allocated to disabled workers (the remaining 20% are spent on wage subsidies and professional training).

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Employment in the public sector

The standard recruitment process in the Belgian public sector is a competitive entry examination. Disabled candidates are entitled to suitable arrangements when sitting such entry test to try and join the civil forces.

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Employment of blind and partially sighted women.

A federal legislation on gender-based discrimination was adopted in 2007 (“Loi du 10 mai 2007 tendant à lutter contre la discrimination entre les femmes et les hommes”). 

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Self Employment

There are three levels of legislation in Belgium: federal, regional and community. The 1963 Social Rehabilitation Act (“Loi de Réhabilitation Sociale”) and Labour Regulation Number 43 (“Convention collective numero 43 du 2 mai 1988”) are the 2 main federal legislations for disabled self-employed workers. In addition, decrees are issued by each of the three Communities (Flemish, French, and German speakers) and the regional governments in each of the three Regions (Flemish, Walloon and Brussels regions).
Public funding to support self-employed disabled workers is delivered by a specific organisation: the Disability Community Agency. There are 4 such Agencies, each catering to a linguistic Community.
• VAPH (Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap) is the Flemish Agency which caters to Flemish-speakers residing in the Flemish region and in the Brussels Region
• SBFPH (Service Bruxellois Francophone des Personnes Handicapées) is the Brussels-Capital Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Brussels Region
• AWIPH (Agence Walonne pour l'Intégration des Personnes Handicapées) is the Walloon Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Walloon Region
• DPB (Dienststelle für Personen mit Behinderung) is the Agency catering to German-speakers residing in the Walloon Region
Upon registering with the relevant Agency, the disabled person who is willing to create his or her job may be entitled to a monthly allowance amounting to 33% of the Belgian monthly minimal wage (1.283,91 Euros in 2008) during the first year of his or her activities.
Self-employed workers with disabilities are also entitled to funding towards transportation costs and practical measures taken such as specific equipment

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Vocational rehabilitation and training

There are three levels of legislation in Belgium: federal, regional and community. Communities handle professional training while regions oversee outplacement.
Disabled people may access training and rehabilitation programs upon registration with a specific organisation: the Disability Community Agency. There are 4 such Agencies, each catering to a linguistic Community.
• VAPH (Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap) is the Flemish Agency which caters to Flemish-speakers residing in the Flemish region and in the Brussels Region
• SBFPH (Service Bruxellois Francophone des Personnes Handicapées) is the Brussels-Capital Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Brussels Region
• AWIPH (Agence Walonne pour l'Intégration des Personnes Handicapées) is the Walloon Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Walloon Region
• DPB (Dienststelle für Personen mit Behinderung) is the Agency catering to German-speakers residing in the Walloon Region
Disabled people can access the training programmes offered by other federal, regional or community instances in Belgium. In addition, the Agency funds rehabilitation and training courses in certified professional training centres that are tailored to the disabled public.

Supported traineeship positions are another training option. Such contracts last for up to a year and are renewable. At least 60% and up to 80% of the trainee's wage is paid by the Agency. In addition, the employer may receive an inclusion bonus (“prime d'intégration”) of up to 25% of the total wage cost. Where applicable the employer may be entitled to additional funding towards practical adjustments. At last, the Agency pays for the disabled trainee's transport costs and his or her health insurance.

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Incentive measures to employ workers with disabilities.

No information

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Legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities

No information

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Vocational counselling.

Vocational counselling is mainly provided by the Disability Community Agencies. There are 4 such Agencies in Belgium, each catering to a linguistic Community.
• VAPH (Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap) is the Flemish Agency which caters to Flemish-speakers residing in the Flemish region and in the Brussels Region
• SBFPH (Service Bruxellois Francophone des Personnes Handicapées) is the Brussels-Capital Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Brussels Region
• AWIPH (Agence Walonne pour l'Intégration des Personnes Handicapées) is the Walloon Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Walloon Region
• DPB (Dienststelle für Personen mit Behinderung) is the Agency catering to German-speakers residing in the Walloon Region
Upon registering with the relevant Agency, the disabled person receives the guidance of an Advisor to develop an inclusion strategy towards further education, professional training or employment.
The Agency may also provide outplacement in the form of short-term unpaid internship and middle-term paid traineeship contracts in both the public and private sectors. These contracts allow disabled people to explore a professional sector and gain hands-on experience.

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Main occupations performed by workers with a visual impairment.

No information

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Looking for a job

There are two institutions that provide support to disabled job seekers in Belgium: Regional Job Centres and Disability Community Agencies.
Job centres operate at Regional level and provide all job seekers with guidance in their job search.
The disabled job seeker can also receive tailored counselling to move into work upon registration with the relevant Disability Community Agency. There are 4 such Agencies, each catering to a linguistic Community.
• VAPH (Vlaams Agentschap voor Personen met een Handicap) is the Flemish Agency which caters to Flemish-speakers residing in the Flemish region and in the Brussels Region
• SBFPH (Service Bruxellois Francophone des Personnes Handicapées) is the Brussels-Capital Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Brussels Region
• AWIPH (Agence Walonne pour l'Intégration des Personnes Handicapées) is the Walloon Agency which caters to French-speakers based in the Walloon Region
• DPB (Dienststelle für Personen mit Behinderung) is the Agency catering to German-speakers residing in the Walloon Region
Upon registering with the relevant Agency, the disabled job seeker receives the guidance of an Advisor to develop a strategy to move into work. This may involve further education, vocational training, unpaid internships or paid traineeship contracts in both the public and private sectors. Agencies also perform outplacement services in the sheltered sector.

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Legal recognition of disabled worker status

No information

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Trade unions and workers with disabilities.

 

No information

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