Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (68)

Trevor Sargent

Question:

65 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether the obligations on an employer in respect of persons with disabilities in the Equality Bill 2004 meets the requirements under the UN Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6373/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

The Equality Bill 2004 which is presently before the Oireachtas will amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000 to give effect to EU equality Directives 2000/43/EC, race directive, 2000/78/EC, framework employment directive, and 2002/73/EC, gender equal treatment in employment directive. In accordance with the framework employment directive, section 9 of the Bill replaces section 16(3) of the Employment Equality Act 1998 in relation to the employer's duty to accommodate the needs of a person with a disability to enable access and participation in employment.

The UN Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1994) cover all aspects of the lives of people with disabilities including provisions relating to employment. The rules are voluntary in nature and are considered primarily guidelines to the development of policy. In the area of employment, the rules provide that laws and regulations in the employment field should not discriminate against people with disabilities and must not raise obstacles to their employment. Equality legislation to date, and now the Equality Bill 2004, supports and enhances this aim. Other elements in the employment rule relate to the active support of people with disabilities in employment, the adaptation of workplaces, public awareness campaigns and a range of other measures geared to support the integration of people with disabilities in employment. The Equality Bill allows for such measures for this purpose. In general the aims of the standards rules are being advanced both on an administrative and legislative basis.

Question No. 66 answered with QuestionNo. 12.