- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Proposed Amendment to Czech Employment Act Threatens Jobs of Thousands with Disabilities
Thousands of disabled individuals in the Czech Republic are facing the risk of losing their employment due to an impending amendment to the Employment Act. Organizations representing these workers and their employers have issued warnings about the proposed changes, which aim to limit state support for disabled workers.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is currently preparing an amendment to the Employment Act, which includes a provision to introduce a cap on operating cost contributions. These contributions cover expenses such as transportation, work assistance, and adaptations to workplaces for disabled individuals. However, the primary concern revolves around the proposed elimination of entitlement to support for persons with health impairments.
Václav Krása, Chairman of the National Council of Persons with Health Impairments, emphasized that individuals with health impairments, who do not qualify for disability pensions but face permanent health issues, are at risk of losing their state support. This category may include individuals with mild intellectual disabilities who are capable of performing simpler tasks. Krása estimates that there are approximately six thousand such individuals in the country, with the state currently providing contributions of around five to six thousand Czech crowns per month for each.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs aims to streamline support with this amendment, directing those with residual work potential toward the open labor market. According to ministry spokesperson Jakub Augusty, individuals with health impairments, unlike disabled individuals, can engage in continuous employment or other gainful activities.
Critics argue that discontinuing support for individuals with health impairments is misguided. Krása points out that the productivity of people with health impairments is generally low, and the support was introduced to incentivize employers to hire them. Ladislav Valenta, President of the Chamber of Employers of Disabled People, echoes this perspective, emphasizing that individuals with health impairments often have limited employment opportunities, and the support is crucial to their job prospects.
The Ministry anticipates that the proposed changes will result in savings of approximately 630 million Czech crowns. However, critics dispute this estimation, arguing that individuals losing employment due to the amendment will likely end up relying on social benefits, which would ultimately cost the state significantly more.
Krása highlights that the state spends up to 400,000 crowns annually on a severely disabled person who does not work and depends entirely on the welfare system. When employed, disabled individuals earn a portion of their income, contributing to their financial independence.
In addition to the proposed elimination of support for individuals with health impairments, the amendment includes the introduction of a cap on operating costs, though specific details have yet to be provided. Augusty believes that setting a cap will help streamline support, preventing employers from inflating expenses to secure maximum contributions.
Article by Prague Forum