86/379/EEC: Council Recommendation of 24 July 1986 on the employment of disabled people in the Community

Official Journal L 225 , 12/08/1986 P. 0043 - 0047



of 24 July 1986

on the employment of disabled people in the Community



Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, and in particular Article 235 thereof,

Having regard to the draft recommendation submitted by the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament (1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (2),

Whereas the Council Resolution of 21 January 1974 concerning a social action programme (3) provides for, inter alia, the implementation of a programme for the vocational and social integration of handicapped persons;

Whereas the Council Resolution of 27 June 1974 (4) established the initial Community action programme for the vocational rehabilitation of handicapped persons;

Whereas the Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 21 December 1981 on the social integration of handicapped people (5) invites Member States to ensure that handicapped people do not shoulder an unfair burden of the effects, in particular from the point of view of employment, of economic difficulties and to promote measures to prepare handicapped people for an active life, but does not provide for a concerted or concentrated Community effort in this regard;

Whereas, for the purpose of this Recommendation, 'disabled people' includes all people with serious disabilities which result from physical, mental or psychological impairments;

Whereas disabled people have the same right as all other workers to equal opportunity in traing and employment;

Whereas, in a period of economic crisis, action at European and Community levels should be not only continued but also intensified in order to promote the achievement of equal opportunity by means of positive and coherent policies;

Whereas these policies should take account of the aspirations of disabled people for a fully active and independent life;

Whereas the European Parliament, in its resolution of 11 March 1981 (6), stressed the need to promote at Community level the economic, social and vocational integration of disabled people;

Whereas the provision of fair opportunities for disabled people in the field of employment and vocational training appears necessary for the achievement of one of the objectives of the Community; whereas the Treaty has not provided for the powers of action required for the adoption of this Recommendation, other than those of Article 235,


1. To take all appropriate measures to promote fair opportunities for disabled people in the field of employment and vocational training, including initial training and employment as well as rehabilitation and resettlement.

The principle of fair opportunity for disabled people should be applied in respect of:

(a) access to employment and vocational training, whether normal or special, including guidance, placement and follow-up services;

(b) retention in that employment or vocational training and protection from unfair dismissal;

(c) opportunities for promotion and in-service training.

2. To this end, to continue and, if necessary, intensify and re-examine their policies to help disabled people, where appropriate after consulting disabled people's organizations and both sides of industry; such policies should take account of measures and specific activities implemented in the other Member States which have proved effective and worthwhile.

These policies should provide in particular for:

(a) Elimination of negative discrimination by:

(i) reviewing laws, regulations and administrative provisions to ensure that they are not contrary to the principle of fair opportunity for disabled people;

(ii) taking appropriate measures to avoid as far as possible dismissals linked to a disability;

(iii) limiting exceptions to the principle of equal treatment in access to training or employment to the cases justified on the ground of a specific incompatibility between a particular activity forming part of a job or course of training and a particular disability; if necessary, it should be possible to have this incompatibility confirmed by a medical certificate; any such exception should be reviewed periodically in order to establish whether it continues to be justified;

(iv) seeking to ensure that any tests required for access to vocational training courses and any tests required during or at the end of such courses are designed in such a way that candidates with disabilities are not thereby disadvantaged;

(v) seeking to ensure that disabled people can go before the competent bodies to establish their rights and can receive the necessary assistance to do so in accordance with national law and practice.

(b) Positive action for disabled people, including:

(i) bearing in mind differences in sectors and enterprises, the fixing by Member States, where appropriate and after consultation of disabled people's organization and both sides of industry, of realistic percentage targets for the employment of disabled people in public or private enterprises having a minimum number of employees; such a minimum might be set at between 15 and 50. Measures should also be adopted for making these targets public and achieving them;

(ii) the making available, in each Member State, of a guide or code of good practice for the employment of disabled people, incorporating positive measures already adopted in the Member State concerned and corresponding in spirit with the provisions of this Recommendation; the Annex comprises a guideline framework for such a guide or code, setting out examples of positive action;

the guide or code of good practice should be circulated as widely as possible and refer to the public and private sectors;

it should describe clearly the contribution which the recipients of the guide or code can and should make in putting into practice the national policy on disabled people; it should include information and advice on the support that is available from public services;

(iii) provision whereby the Member States encourage the public and private enterprises to take all appropriate measures for the employment of disabled people which correspond in spirit with the guide or code of good practice; Member States should establish the means for making these policies, and the annual progress made in their implementation, known to the public, according to existing procedures for disseminating information in the social field;

(iv) provision whereby the employer and the rehabilitation services cooperate in the resettlement, with the same enterprise as far as possible, of any employee who becomes disabled.

3. To report to the Commission on the measures they have taken to implement this Recommendation with a view to enabling the Commission to present the report referred to in II.3.


1. To co-ordinate the exchange of information and experience on the rehabilitation and employment of disabled people between national authorities; agencies designated for the purpose by the Member States will also be involved in this exchange.

2. To maintain appropriate aid from the European Social Fund to assist disabled people of whatever age.

3. To report to the Council on the application of this Recommendation within two years of its adoption.

Done at Brussels, 24 July 1986.

For the Council

The President


(1) OJ No C 148, 16. 6. 1986, p. 84.

(2) OJ No C 189, 28. 7. 1986, p. 10.

(3) OJ No C 13, 12. 2. 1974, p. 1.

(4) OJ No C 80, 9. 7. 1974, p. 30.

(5) OJ No C 347, 31. 12. 1981, p. 1.

(6) OJ No C 77, 6. 4. 1981, p. 27.


Guideline framework for positive action to promote the employment and vocational training of disabled people

Set out below are a number of possible measures, proposed by the Commission, which Member States should consider in implementing this Recommendation and in particular in drawing up a guide or code of good practice.



1. Job creation

(a) Concerted projects

Ensuring that disabled people are given a full and fair opportunity to benefit from projects such as regional development programmes, local employment initiatives and action to promote the setting-up of cooperatives or of smaller medium-sized enterprises.

(b) New technology

Stimulating new employment opportunities by means of national initiatives both in the new technology sector itself and in the use of new technologies as aids to make employment possible in other fields.

In this connection, promoting projects to enable disabled people to take on tele-work.

Studying the specific risks to employment resulting from new technological developments and taking appropriate action.

Adapting work stations to the needs of disabled people.

(c) Other activities

Promoting and supporting projects which train and prepare disabled people to create their own business or which identify new employment opportunities in the media or in services on behalf of other disabled people.

Identifying other sectors (such as tertiary services, including tourism and catering, agriculture or horticulture and forestry) which have good prospects and are suitable for people with various disabilities.

Implementing schemes for creating new jobs for disabled people in these fields.

Drawing up special national policies for the re-employment of mentally handicapped workers who lose their jobs because of changes in the character of the employment market.

Creating more opportunities for part-time employment for disabled workers.

2. Sheltered employment

(a) General

Reviewing the situation in each Member State in regard to sheltered employment and sheltered occupation and drawing up plans for the future of this sector.

(b) Quantitative side

Arranging that plans should assess future demand and the need to develop or reduce such provision.

(c) Qualitative side

Seeing that the review takes into consideration the following points:

- improving the quality of less successful workshops or centres so that they approximate to the best;

- introducing new forms of activity (for example, in the computer sector) which are both more interesting and likely to be more successful commercially;

- increasing the amount of training available in workshops;

- developing the transitional role of workshops, i.e. their function as assessment and personal development centres coming between basic education or a period of unemployment and entry to the open labour market;

- reducing segregation by developing sheltered posts or groups within normal enterprises, or mixed cooperatives. 3. Transition, vocational rehabilitation and vocational training

Enabling disabled trainees to enrol in integrated training courses in normal establishments wherever possible and desirable.

Giving a high priority to improving the availability and quality of vocational preparation and training for disabled people, with particular regard to the following aims:

- giving equal consideration to the needs of workers who incur disability through accident or disease and to the needs of young people whose disability is congenital or was incurred in childhood or adolescence;

- adapting the content of the training courses available to match more realistically the needs of the labour market;

- strengthening direct links between training establishments and local representatives of both sides of industry;

- improving training methods, in particular by developing the use of new technologies as training aids and by introducing modular training and, where appropriate, distant learning facilities;

- encouraging experimentation in course structure and design so as to facilitate the coordination of theoretical and practical training;

- improving all aspects of access to training courses;

- encouraging disabled trainees to take, as far as possible, a more active part in planning their own training programmes;

- guaranteeing continuity of vocational training and preparation for employment by promoting interprofessional cooperation and creating multidisciplinary teams.

4. Guidance, assessment and placement

(a) Guidance

Providing at regional level, as part of the general guidance services, educational and vocational guidance services with a clear responsibility to meet the needs of disabled people.

Providing, in the case of general, rather than specialized, guidance services, for staff to be trained to understand and deal with the special needs of people with disabilities.

(b) Assessment

Identifying effective assessment methods and introducing those methods as far as possible.

Giving priority to the principles that:

- the disabled person himself (and, where appropriate, his family) should participate actively in assessment;

- every client should be encouraged to opt for the best level of training and highest vocational goal of which he is capable.

(c) Placement services

Setting up at regional level, as part of the general placement services, placement services to help suitably trained disabled people to find a job.

Ensuring that these services also follow and support the disabled person in the job, at least for an initial period.

Implementing training programmes for disabled people's placement officiers.

5. Employers and workers' organizations

(a) Incentives to employers

Encouraging employers to make greater use of funds from public sources.

Where appropriate, making such funds available, in accordance with national policies and situations, to cover, or contribute towards covering, the special costs to an employer of taking on a disabled worker.

The eligible expenditure should include adaptations to machinery or equipment, provision of access facilities and additional staff costs.

The grants should apply both when a worker is re-employed after incurring a disability and for new recruitments.

In the case of new recruitments, envisaging a contribution from public funds to the worker's salary over a given period of induction training.

(b) Workers' organizations

Encouraging trade unions to give any necessary support to disabled workers and to ensure that their interests are properly catered for in representative structures. 6. Social security

Ensuring that disabled workers who lose their jobs or who cannot find employment after vocational rehabilitation do not find themselves thereafter, purely because of their disability, financially worse off than other workers in similar circumstances.

Ensuring that benefit systems do not act as disincentives to part-time employment, to trial periods of employment or to the gradual take-up of a job or return to it, whenever any of these patterns is desirable from the disabled worker's and employer's point of view.



1. The supporting environment

Ensuring that disabled people live in an environment which makes it possible for them to benefit from further education and training and to make their full contribution to the economy.

Effectively implementing existing legislation and where necessary introducing new legislation to promote:

- suitable housing (wherever possible integrated in the open community),

- adequate transport to places of training and work,

- access to and within the workplace, especially in the office sector.

Ensuring that measures aimed at guaranteeing fair opportunities for the disabled are not regarded as discriminatory against the able-bodied.

Recognizing the need for flexibility in the conditions of employment of persons looking after a disabled person.

2. Information and advice

(a) Assistance for disabled people

Developing, for the benefit of disabled people, their families and the professionals (whether case-workers or administrators) concerned, a system of information and advice covering technical aids and other questions of importance to disabled people.

Extending the system, which could consist of specialized centres or of services developed in existing centres with wider functions, below the national level to regional and local levels over time as resources permit.

(b) Information campaign

Undertaking coordinated action to inform and advise politicians, both sides of industry and the general public of the capacities and the needs of disabled people.

In particular, making audio-visuel material on disability problems widely available through appropriate channels such as interest groups and training schemes run by both sides of industry.

3. Social research

Encouraging and coordinating social research - for which national data bases should be established - both in order to analyse needs and possibilities and to evaluate the effectiveness of measures undertaken.

4. Consultation, coordination and participation

Continuing and developing systems of national, regional and local authorities' consultation, coordination and participation, including in this exercice the public services and agencies, the voluntary organizations, independent professionals, the two sides of industry and the media as well as disabled people and their families.

Giving particular priority to the active involvement of disabled people, whether in a representative or personal capacity, in the taking and implementation of decisions concerning them.