Business and Disability

Olga Popova
Junior Associate / Employment, Pensions and Benefits
Goltsblat BLP

Disability is a social phenomenon that cannot be avoided by any society, and each country, in accordance with the level of its development, priorities and opportunities, shapes its social and economic policy for disabled people.

UN experts state that one of the fundamental rights determining the level of conformity by the country’s national policy with international standards is the right of disabled people to work. The practice of international society identifies that the most common measures of support for persons with disabilities on the labor market are work quotas, adaptation of workplaces, financial incentives to employers to provide support for persons with disabilities, and employment assistance.

In Russia, state policy regarding disabled people has a long history. The year when the federal law “On Social Protection of Disabled Persons in Russia” was amended, 1995, was the turning point: The general right to work for disabled people was established officially. Article 13 of the Federal Law of April, 19, 1991, No. 1032-1 “On Employment in Russia” provides additional guarantees to citizens who have difficulties finding employment, including through the establishment of quotas for hiring people with disabilities. This right is achieved from the other side — for organizations with more than 100 people, the quota for disabled employees is not less than 2 percent and not more than 4 percent of the average number of employees.

In accordance with the federal law “On Social Protection of Disabled Persons in Russia,” the requisite working conditions are created for disabled employees in organizations, irrespective of their organizational and legal form and type of ownership, in accordance with the rehabilitation program of the individual disabled person. As far as benefits in the labor sphere are concerned, disabled people work a shorter working day for full pay, are granted at least 30 days paid annual vacation and enjoy other guarantees. In accordance with the currently effective Article 179 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, employees who have become disabled while working for a company have priority in retaining their jobs in the event of redundancies or staff cuts.

In addition, to facilitate employment of the disabled, the state labor agency has developed a special list of professions that allows disabled people to compete on the labor market and meet the expectations of business needs.

Among the benefits for businesses that support the employment of disabled people, it is important to note that the legislation establishes tax benefits for enterprises with disabled employees, and this can be the most attractive thing for business.

It is very important not only to establish some rights, but also to encourage people with disabilities to consider starting up their own businesses. It is obvious that formal and informal support, both past and present and also both inside and outside has great meaning for disabled people, and it is important to remember that people can work very well even if they are disabled.

The scale of disability depends, of course, on a multitude of factors: the health of the nation, development of the public health system, socio-economic development, the state of the environment, historical and political factors, in particular participation in wars and military conflicts, etc. In Russia, all these factors demonstrate a clearly negative trend that predetermines a significant spread of disability in society. There are currently almost 10 million disabled people in the country (about 7 percent of the population). Even so, when a company employs a disabled person and provides him or her with the requisite support, it must be remembered that physical shortcomings do not always hamper full, quality work and, in some cases, even develop personality characteristics that help in work and might assist in full attainment of business objectives.