People with disabilities experience multiple barriers to accessing employment, including financial barriers, negative societal attitudes, environmental barriers, the education system and lack of opportunity. Ireland has one of the lowest rates of employment for disabled people (32.6%) and it gets even lower for people with intellectual disabilities (17%).

The United Nations Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities

Article 26 of the UNCRPD says that countries should make sure that people with disabilities can have independence, full physical, mental, social and vocational ability, and full inclusion and participation in all aspects of life. To do this, countries should include and support people to participate in services and programmes about education, employment, health and social services.

Article 27 recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to work equally with everyone else. This includes the right to make money by working in a job that you choose with a workplace that is inclusive and accessible. The main points of this article mean that as a person with an intellectual disability;

  • You should not be discriminated against during recruitment or at work
  • You should not be forced to work or treated like a slave
  • You should not work for free unless it’s your free will to volunteer.
  • You should have access to training
  • You have the right to work in the community
  • You have the right to work in the public sector: for your local county council, a school or anything else.
  • You should have access to reasonable accommodations
  • You have the right to have a fair wage and good working conditions.
  • You have the right to get promoted if you are good at your job

In 2022 Ireland submitted a General Comment on this article. The most important points they added were;

  • You have the right to join a trade union to protect your rights as a worker
  • You should be involved in the big discussions of your company about working conditions. Because your opinion matters.

Read more about your employment rights in our resource section here.

Inclusion Ireland Prebudget Submission 2023 – Employment

Each year Inclusion Ireland works on budget priorities for people with intellectual disabilities to influence how the Government spends the Budget and to try and make sure that the Government prioritises the rights of people with intellectual disabilities when they make decisions.

As part of our submission for this year, we made some recommendations to make employment more inclusive and accessible for people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland.

  • Set real and meaningful targets for people with intellectual disabilities in particular, given the low levels of employment.
  • Invest in career guidance at school and transition towards post-school options.
  • Invest in job coaches to support the employment of people with an intellectual disability by expanding the ability programs and other employment projects for disabled people
  • Open the Wage Subsidy Scheme to people working less than 20 hours.
  • Job coaches and on-site training for people with intellectual disabilities should be included in Reasonable Accommodations Funds.
  • Increase the income limit for disabled workers. A dedicated, centrally based national resource of peer advice and information for employ

To read more about our Prebudget Submission 2024, click here.