Know your Employment Rights

All humans have the same rights. In Ireland we have laws that say this.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (UNCRPD) is an agreement between many countries. Ireland agreed to respect the Convention in 2018. This means that Ireland must do what the UNCRPD says.

Article 26 is one of the points in the UNCRPD, this is about Access to Services. This says Ireland should include and support people to participate in services and programmes around education, employment, health and social services.

Article 27 is another part of the UNCRPD and this is about Inclusive employment. It says you should not be discriminated against during recruitment or at work. This means workplaces should not treat you differently from others because of a disability.

  • You should not work for free unless it’s your free will or you want to volunteer.
  • You should be able to get training.
  • You have the right to work in the community.
  • You have the right to work in the public sector, in places like a government department or a library.
  • You should have access to reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodation in employment is when the employer makes changes to the way a person can get a job and changes to the way a job is usually done to make sure people with disabilities can keep their jobs.

You have the right to have a fair wage and good working conditions. This means you should get the same money other people get for your job, have a nice place to do your work and be part of the team.

You have the right to get promoted if you do a good job. This means you can apply for a job like a management role if you want.

The UNCRPD Committee wrote some new advice on employment, and this is called General Comment 7. This gives more information about a person’s right to employment and tells Ireland how to make sure that employers respect these rights.

In the past, people with an intellectual disability were made to work long hours for very little money, away from their community in a place called sheltered workshops. Their rights were not respected, this is called discrimination. Employers are not allowed to do this by law, this is why sheltered workshops were closed in Ireland.

There is a law in Ireland called The Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015. This law says that employees with disabilities have the same employment rights as other employees.

The Employment Equality Act say that employers must take reasonable steps to support the needs of all employees with disabilities

Support to help you get a job

A job coach can help you to get a job. Some job coaches work within day services for people with an intellectual disability and other job coaches are employed by the government through an organisation called EmployAbility.

Job coaches give employment support for both the employer and you as the employee, especially with Reasonable Accommodations.

Examples of reasonable accommodations to support you in getting a job

  • A job coach to help match your interests and skills to a job.
  • A job coach can advocate or speak up for you to an employer to give you a job.
  • A job coach can train you to use transport from your house to your workplace.
  • Work placement instead of a job interview so you can show the employer your skills and make a plan if you need support to do the job.

Supports to help you keep a job

Examples of reasonable accommodations that can support you to keep a job.

  • A job coach can give you support in your job for up to 18 months and afterwards, if you need it.
  • A work buddy can show you where to go, and what to do and answer any questions you may have. This is called a buddy system.
  • Easy to Read instructions on how to do your tasks.
  • More time to do tasks
  • Checklists to help you check all your tasks are completed.

What can you do right now to start your employment journey?

You can get a job coach to help you.

You can contact EmployAbility and make a self-referral which is when you tell them you want help yourself


If you attend a day service, ask your key worker if there is a job coach in your service that can support you to get a job or help you to contact EmployAbility.