Minister kicks off access-to-work programme for people with disabilities
Flemish minister of Employment Jo Brouns kicked off the Flemish government's personalised work programme on Monday with a visit to a catering company in Zaventem where 12 people with disablities are employed. The programme, which coems into effect today, aims to help people with a work-limiting disability to find work more easily.
Some 17 per cent of all jobseekers in Flanders have cognitive, psychological, physical or sensory problems. Currently, these people tend to find work in collective work programmes, formerly known as "sheltered" or "social workshops". To increase access to work at ordinary companies for disabled jobseekers, the Flemish government has developed a decree on personalised work.
Through the programme, the government provides more support for companies recruiting someone with a work-limiting disability or retaining an employee with a work-limiting disability due to an accident or illness. In addition to the existing wage premium for employers, an additional guidance premium will be provided. This should support companies when they hire someone with a work-limiting disability. The Flemish government has earmarked 130 million euros a year for the renewed system.
"This is an important step, as we give people with employment restrictions every opportunity to start working in any environment"
According to Brouns, the intervention should help remove thresholds and expedite an increase in the Flemish employment rate. "This is an important step forward, as we give people with employment restrictions every opportunity to start working in any work environment with the necessary support. With the personalised work programme, we make that possible for everyone," he said.
Brouns kicked off the system on Monday with a visit to a caterer in Zaventem, which employs 52 people, 12 of whom have disabilities.
#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister of Employment Jo Brouns © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS