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 main legislations concerning the measures to support employers in Iceland is the Labour Market Measures Act, No. 55/2006, as amended by Act No. 88/2008. Article 2 stipulates that the aim of this Act is to provide individuals with the appropriate assistance to enable them to become active participants in the labour market. The Directorate of Labour is responsible for the application of this Act on behalf of the Minister of Social Affairs. The labour market remedies which the Directorate is responsible for are: individual courses, vocational remedies, i.e. job introductions, vocational training and trial engagements; counselling, provided concurrently with participation in courses and trial engagements; study remedies; employment-related rehabilitation and employment-related rehabilitation for specific groups.
The Directorate of Labour shall assist all those aged between 16 and 70 who have an unrestricted right to engage in employment in Iceland with job searches (Article 10). Article 11 stipulates that when a job-seeker applies to participate in labour market measures, his/her capacity for work will be assessed by an advisor at the Directorate. A job-seeker shall submit all information available regarding his/her capacity for work so as to make it possible to help him/her to obtain suitable employment and give him/her the opportunity of participating in individual labour market remedies. Then, under an agreement with the job-seeker, a schedule will be drawn up covering his/her employment search and participation in appropriate labour market remedies on the basis of the assessment. At the same time, the job-seeker is to be provided with guidance regarding other services if it is considered necessary that he/she seek assistance in other public service systems prior to, or concurrently with, the services provided under this Act. That means that participation in labour market measures may be made subject to the condition that the job-seeker seeks the assistance of other services, either first or at the same time.
The main legislations concerning the measures to support disabled workers is the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities, No. 59/1992. According to Article 5 Iceland is divided into operational regions insofar as the affairs of people with disabilities are concerned, these regions to follow the division into electoral districts. Article 28 stipulates that each operational region shall have a selective placement service, with the purpose of obtaining suitable work for people with disabilities. In connection with this placement service, occupational counselling shall be provided. Where municipalities operate a special employment bureau, this bureau shall be entrusted with the operation of a selective placement service for people with disabilities under a special agreement.
Article 29 further stipulates that people with disabilities be given assistance in holding jobs on the general labour market when necessary. This shall be done through special personal support at the workplace as well as through information and instruction for other workers. People with disabilities shall be given work training in general enterprises and/or institutions where this can be arranged. In those instances a special agreement shall be made, with i.e. a definition of the training period and payment of costs.
For the blind, visually impaired and deafblind there is the Law on the Service and Information Centre for the Blind, Visually impaired and the Deafblind No. 160/2008. Its purpose is to increase the possibilities of participation for the blind, visually impaired and deafblind in all spheres of society on an equal basis with others, emphasizing support to education, independent living, and active recreational and work participation.
There is no general equality and anti-discrimination legislation in Iceland. The Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men No. 10/2008 is the only anti-discrimination legislation. Its aim is to establish and maintain equal status and equal opportunities for women and men, and thus promote gender equality in all spheres of the society.
See question 1 and 2.
The Icelandic Association of the Blind made a research in 2007 within its members before the foundation of the Service and Information Centre for the Blind, Visually impaired and the Deafblind. Out of 143 members from the age of 18 to 67, a total of 127 members responded (or 88,8%). According to the research 56,3% members worked on the open labour market and 11,3% where self-employed. When these two groups were asked if their work was consistent with their education 73,5% responded yes but 26,5 % responded no.
According to Article 30 of the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities, No. 59/1992 people with disabilities shall be offered sheltered work on the labour market within each operational region (see question 2). Sheltered work can consist of work that is organized with regard to the disability. Special sheltered workshops for people with disabilities may also be operated. Sheltered workshops shall on the one hand provide remunerated training for people with disabilities to enable them to work on the general labour market. On the other hand, they shall provide remunerated regular jobs for people with disabilities.
In the research from 2007 11,3 % of the Icelandic´s Association of the Blind members who participated reported to work in sheltered workshops.
SVV is the National Federation coordinating independent institutes, training institutes and sheltered workshops for persons with disabilities. The organization started in 1985. The aim of SVV is to stimulate cooperation between its members and act as a spokesman on behalf of them. SVV tries to promote education for its members and act as a channel for information. There are 23 individual institutions, workshops and special employment centres within the organization. The individual institutions are either owned by regional community or by different organizations for persons with disabilities. The sheltered workshops in Iceland provide work for mixed groups with different kinds of disabilities. In some cases however there are special workshops providing employment to the blind.
The Icelandic Association of the Blind also founded the Blindravinnustofan Ltd., in 1941 a medium sized workshop for safe and productive work environment for the blind and partially sighted. Within the company there are 25 employers and within that number there are 20 blinded or partially sighted.
The research from 2007 indicated that women had lower income than men.
According to the research from 2007 a total of 11,3% of the participants were self-employed.
See question 1 for the general service provided from the Directorate of Labour under the provisions of the Labour Market Measures Act, No. 55/2006.
Article 26 of the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities, No. 59/1992 further stipulates that people with disabilities shall enjoy social habilitation and rehabilitation with the aim of reducing the effects of the disability and increasing the habilitation of people with disabilities for work and participation in daily life. Special habilitation and rehabilitation centres shall be operated, as well as day-care centres for people with disabilities, which can furnish developmental therapy, work training and/or occupational training. Work and occupational training shall also be given at sheltered workshops.
For the blind, visually impaired and deafblind the Law on the Service and Information Centre for the Blind, Visually impaired and the Deafblind No. 160/2008 is also concerned with the adaptation and rehabilitation of the blind and the visually impaired according to Article 4.
According to the Centre's website it provides guidance and counselling to blind and visually impaired workers as well as to the employer about adjustments of the working environment. The Center also provides guidance regarding the location of a work space, lighting and access for all, as well as advices concerning assistive devices and mobility training around the work place.
Of the 127 participants in the research from 2007 a total of 79,5% replied that they had not received any vocational rehabilitation. 18,9% said they had received such rehabilitation and 1,6 didn´t know or didn´t want to answer.
Article 62 of the Social Security Law nr. 100/2007 authorizes the Social Insurance Administration (Tryggingastofnun), a governmental service institution seeing to the payment of pension insurance and social assistance, to negotiate a special kind of working agreements for its pensioners with companies. A company that hires a pensioner under this agreement gets a refund from the Social Insurance Administration of 25% up to 75% of the wages they have paid the pensioner.
Under the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities, No. 59/1992 Article 32 stipulates that persons with disabilities shall be given priority regarding work for the State and municipalities if their qualifications for a given post are greater or equal to those of other applicants. If a Regional Board is of the opinion that the rights of a person with disability have been disregarded in the granting of an employment position, the Board can request a written explanation for the decision regarding the appointment from the appointing authority.
See questions 1 and 9.
In the research from 2007 participants were asked what their jobs were. Most participants worked in an office or in service jobs or 54,7% and 24,5% in caregiving or childcare. Less than 10% worked in something else.
See questions 1 and 2.
No mention of disabled worker status in Icelandic legislation
The legislation concerning trade unions No. 80/1938 does not have a specific reference to workers with disabilities. There was a debate a few years ago about the rights of workers in sheltered workshops to enter trade unions as many of the workers had no access to trade unions but that has changed without legislative measures and now most of the workers in sheltered workshops have access to “Efling” a trade union that is one of the largest unions in Iceland with approximately 19.000 members and covers all areas of unskilled labour in Reykjavík and its suburbs, except for employees working in commerce and trade.