Switzerland - 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
 

1.Measures to support employers

The disability insurance in Switzerland provides measures to support employers:

  • The disability insurance pays for all costs for auxiliary aids, adaptation of working space including adaptation of illumination for visual impaired persons as well as instruction of auxiliary aids including necessary adaptations for screen reading programmes to the need of the programmes used by the  employer
  • In case an employee becomes visually impaired or blind, the disability insurance pays for rehabilitation, re-adaptation of working place, necessary vocational training and auxiliary aids as well as the salary during the rehabilitation period
  • Insured persons and employers have the possibility to test a working relationship for a period of six months: The disability insurance supports the employer in paying the personnel costs involved and coaching during a period up to 6 months.
  • Advice and support services for the insured person and the employers during three years after successful placement.
  • The Swiss disability insurance pays for assistance for severely visual impaired persons and blind persons up to 20 hours per month or for an assistant in the amount of CHF 1600.- per month. There is also the possibility to get an allowance to go to work with a taxi, should the way to work be too complicated, too dangerous or not accessible by public transport.
  • Contributions to employers for risks of hiring employees with a disability. For example subventions and other compensations.
  • Early recognition and intervention are prevention measures and support employers.

Remarks: Everybody in working age in Switzerland is insured by the Swiss disability insurance. Some restriction and waiting periods apply to foreign workers immigrating to Switzerland.

Beside these measures there exist some national and regional initiatives to support employers. For example the electronic information portal "Compasso" which gives employers an overview on supplies, instruments and successful examples for vocational integration.

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2.Measures to support workers with disabilities

Additionally to the above mentioned measures the disability insurance provides job search services and retraining for workers with a disability. They also delegate many tasks and measures to other specialized bodies, agencies and partners. For example the counselling and rehabilitation centres of the Swiss Federation of blind and visual impaired people (SBV-FSA) gives support with low vision training or adaptation of workplaces for blind and visual impaired people.

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3.Discrimination

The Swiss law of equality for handicapped people is in the area of employment relatively weak. This makes the UN Convention and its implementation all the more important.

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4.Employment on the open labour market

Statistics and recent studies provide some figures and facts for Switzerland. About three quarters of disabled people in working age are employed within the labour market. This is evidence for a strong commitment of disabled people in professional life. Nevertheless, this commitment is systematically lower in comparison to the whole population. Nearly every second person with a handicap works part-time. Additionally the level of income and the professional status is lower compared to the whole working population.

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5.Employment in the supported / sheltered sector

The Federal Statistic Office provides an overview of the supported sector. Nearly 13'000 workplaces exist in sheltered environment. Whereby just a small fraction of about 250 people is blind or visual impaired. Most important issues: Training and education places in sheltered environment, its funding and better permeability to the general labour market.

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6.Employment in the public sector

A recent study shows that blind and visual impaired people are rarely engaged in agriculture / forestry or in the industrial economic sector. The public services predominate in Switzerland. Especially professional activities in the public administration, education system, health and social services can be mentioned.

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7.Employment of blind and partially sighted women.

There's no specific knowledge about the employment of blind and visual impaired women available. The Swiss statistics support the assumption that the employment situation of women with a disability is aggravated. Especially part-time jobs (below 50 percent) are more common.

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8.Self Employment

A recent study confirms that blind and visual impaired people are to a greater degree self-employed compared to the entire Swiss population.

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9.Vocational rehabilitation and training

Vocational rehabilitation and training is provided by regional counselling centres (SBV-FSA), a specific centre for technical assistance (SBH Basel), cantonal disability insurance offices and other institution and bodies. They support blind and visual impaired people with adaptation and support on the workplace, with technical devices and practice, as well as other important measures to facilitate professional activity. Basically organizations and institutions with specialized knowledge of visual impairment are more effective.

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10.Incentive measures to employ workers with disabilities.

The public administration (federal, cantonal and communal) is obligated to promote work relationships with handicapped people. Otherwise see measures of the Disability Insurance in question 1.

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11.Legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities

Currently there exists no legal obligation to employ workers with disabilities in Switzerland.

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12.Vocational counselling.

The disability insurance provides vocational, educational and career guidance for persons with a disability or impairment. Some organizations for blind and visual impaired people work with partners regarding vocational counselling. Of course the self-help (SBV-FSA) is useful in many cases.

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13.Main occupations performed by workers with a visual impairment.

There are no details available to the performed occupations by blind and visual impaired people in Switzerland. What can be said, visual impaired people show a bigger range of performed professions than blind and severely visually impaired people. Otherwise see answer in question 6.

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14.Looking for a job

Special job search services for persons with a disability (Stiftung Profil / IPT) are to be mentioned. Furthermore "Stiftung MyHandicap" cooperates with a national online job portal regarding job applicants with a disability.

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15.Legal recognition of disabled worker status

Again the public administration (federal, cantonal and communal) can be highlighted in Switzerland. Personnel guidelines or local law recognizes disabled workers specific protection against dismissal and discrimination. But this is not applicable to the private sector.

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16.Trade unions and workers with disabilities.

 

Trade unions support people with disability and their organizations mainly at the political level. An older example is known with the creation of niche positions in work areas for people with a disability (SEV).

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