The measures to be adopted by public and private organizations to mainstream people with disabilities include promoting active employment policies and equal access to jobs.

The theme of the 2022 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated on December 3, is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world”. This year focuses on the need to apply innovative solutions to the various crises that have arisen as a result of a complex and unstable global reality due to situations such as the war in Ukraine, climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic, which have had highly damaging effects on a particularly vulnerable group, comprising approximately one billion people worldwide.

Following its proclamation on October 14, 1992 pursuant to United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3, the main goal of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is to promote the well-being of persons with disabilities, urging Member States and different social and business organizations to step up efforts aimed at adopting effective measures to protect the rights of people with disabilities and improve their situation, with a view to guaranteeing equal participation in public, cultural and working life.

Full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the different areas of society forms part of the Agenda 2030 goals, as well as the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy implemented in June 2019.

The most recent figures published by the National Statistics Institute show that in 2020, at the height of the global health crisis, Spain had 1,933,400 persons with disabilities of working age, that is, people aged between 16 and 64 years of age, making up 6.3% of the total working age population, a 3% increase on 2019. The unemployment rate among people with disabilities stood at 26.7%.

Looking at these figures, it is clear that achievement of these goals is still a long way off.

Over the next few years, with a view to achieving the full social integration of people with disabilities, public and private organizations must work on aspects as diverse as improving accessibility to transport and to the workplace, putting active employment policies in place to promote the hiring of persons with disabilities, fostering inclusive education to eliminate prejudice, and placing value on the high levels of productivity that people with disabilities bring to the entities and companies where they work.

Having said this, it is worth remembering that access to the job market on equal terms for people with disabilities is not simply a fundamental question of social justice but rather an essential step towards ensuring a more prosperous and sustainable future for all.

Borja Ríos

Garrigues Labor and Employment Law Department