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
A minimum disabled employee rate is set in Czech Republic and there are also various contributions available to employers creating sheltered positions and sheltered workshops.
A sheltered work position is a position created by an employer for an individual with a disability based upon a written agreement with the Labour Office. A sheltered work position must be maintained for at least 2 years from the day specified in the agreement. A sheltered workshop is an employer's work unit in which a minimum of 60 per cent of the employees are persons with disabilities.
The Labour Office may award an employer a contribution towards the creation of a sheltered work position and a sheltered workshop. An employer who provided training for disabled individuals may also receive full costs of such training for disabled individuals, from the Labour Office. An employer who employs more than 50 per cent persons with disabilities, out of the total number of employees, is entitled to a contribution.
There are also tax deductions available to employers employing disabled individuals. Each disabled position lowers the corporate income tax by a defined amount. Should the percentage of disabled employees exceed 50 %, an employer with more than 25 employees is then even entitled to reduce the income tax rate by 50 %, in other words such employer is allowed to reduce its income rate by about 10 percentage points.
Mandatory proportion of employment of persons with disabilities Employers who employ more than 25 people are required to employ individuals with disabilities to the proportion of 4 per cent out of the total number of employees. The methods of meeting this obligation, that is employment relationship, acquisition of products and services or penalty payments to the state budget, are considered to be equivalent and may be mutually combined.
People with disabilities may use certain services that will assist them in finding employment. One is a vocational rehabilitation provided by the Labour Office. It is also possible to use the Supported Employment Program (provided by NGOs such as TyfloCentrum Prague, a Czech Blind United subsidiary), supporting the search, finding and retaining employment in the open labour market. A labour assistant is often available under such programs. Such an assistant provides a disabled person with help related to entering the job (getting familiar with workplace, workplace adaptations, support on the way to the office, etc.).
Vocational rehabilitation is defined as a continuous activity aiming at acquiring and maintaining suitable employment for a person with a disability, provided and financed, upon application, by the Labour Office. In co-operation with a person with a disability the Labour Office will compile an individual plan for vocational rehabilitation.
Based upon an agreement with the Labour Office a disabled person may also make use of initial training for a suitable job. The training for a job may be performed with an assistant's support. The training lasts for a maximum of 24 months. Specialised retraining courses are performed under identical conditions as other (ordinary) retraining.
Labour issues are covered by Labour Code. The Labour Code prohibits – at least in theory - any kind of discrimination, an employee has to get the same salary for the same job performed, has a right for safe workspace, etc. The same applies to a person with impairment, including a visual one.
Based on experience we may say people with visual disabilities face severe discrimination primarily when looking for a job. Employers very often refuse to employ visually impaired people at all just because of the impairment, they are unable to imagine such a person could cope with the job, are full of fear, worries and doubts. If a visually impaired person reveals his/her impairment in the CV or cover letter, he/she is immediately disqualified and not invited to an interview. If a visually impaired person makes it to an interview for having omitted to mention the impairment, he/she is very often told the position has already been assigned to another suitable candidate.
Discrimination sometimes also applies to positions offered, people with visual disabilities are hired for a lower rank than they would be otherwise assigned to. Finally, the discrimination may also be encountered in the financial remuneration area, i.e. a lower wage for otherwise the same work.
Visually impaired people usually find their job on the open labour market, either within ordinary employer or within an employer employing 50+ % of disabled individuals. From this perspective sheltered work positions or sheltered workshops are much less common than ordinary work positions.
See question 4 and 1
The public sector bodies have the same legal obligation to employ individuals with disabilities like all other employers do. Since public sector bodies may not use the raised taxes option, they have to either employ 4+ % of disabled individuals, or may comply by acquiring adequate amount of goods or services from companies employing over 50 % of disabled individuals.
The most common trade licence for self-employed visually impaired person is masseur.
Vocational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities is covered by Act no. 435/2004 Coll., on employment. Labour offices are responsible for carrying out such rehabilitations. According to our experience this measure is very seldom utilised for visually impaired individuals, the fault being both on the offices as well as on impaired persons. Labour offices are generally unable to utilise this measure, moreover they usually have no idea about potential of visually impaired individuals, etc. At the same time visually impaired people seldom register at the Labour office when they lose their job.
See also question 2.
See question 1
See question 1 and 6
People with visual impairment make use of professional vocational counselling mostly in following areas: - Labour code (employment contract and extra-work agreement requirements and terms, employment termination options, registration at Labour office, employment options in parallel with disability income)
In addition, professional vocational counselling is also involved in the area of adaptive equipment, specifically in the way how such equipment might be helpful in job accomplishment. Another related area is independent mobility and space orientation training.
Visually impaired people most often find their job as masseurs, phone operators, music teachers, office staff, or social workers. Crafts, which used to be typical for blinds in the past, get slowly eclipsed or abandoned – including piano tuners, basket makers, upholsterers, brush makers, bookbinders, etc.
If a visually impaired person is looking for a job, it is important that he/she realizes what kind of job exactly he/she is looking for, including job kind, work load, salary expected, locality, etc. Only after that it is possible to begin with specific job search. A structured CV together with cover letter is the next important step, the latter prepared individually to suit each specific job offer. It is also important to think over a phase, in which one tells the employer about his/her visual impairment; it is also necessary to let the employer know how the impairment is compensated for, what kind of adaptive equipment does the person use, etc.
Self-education also relates to the chance of getting a proper job and one thus should think of ways of improving his/her qualification and skills, should he/she want to raise his/her chances on the labour market.
See also questions 2, 9 and 12, as well as 3 and 4.
There are two basic statuses of disability in Czech Republic – one relates to disability pension (there are 3 levels), and the other one relates to certain benefits available after identification with proper certificate/ID card (again 3 levels, not overlapping with former ones, from handicapped person to severely handicapped person with guide).
In history there also was a special labour-related category of disability status – a so called person with modified work ability. This category had got a subcategory of people with severe impairment, such a person was able to work only under very specific conditions. Both categories quite overlapped with disability pension levels, today the disability pension levels have replaced modified work ability at all. The disability pension relates to the 4 % and 50 % ratios as well as contributions spoken about in question 1.
Information provided by SONS, Czech Blind United