Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Economic and Social Research Institute
361. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his views on the recent Economic and Social Research Institute, ESRI, report which found that just 36% of working-aged persons with disabilities are working; the actions his Department is taking to increase this figure; and if he will investigate the matter. [49358/21]
I am aware of the report referenced by the Deputy and the extent to which it highlights the need to continue to make progress on the issue of employment for people with disabilities. My colleague Minister Anne Rabbitte T.D. spoke at the launch of the ESRI report that the Deputy refers to, an event organised by the National Disability Authority which also saw the launch of a similarly employment-focused report by the OECD.
Both reports are receiving detailed consideration by officials in my Department, particularly in the context of the design of the next Action Plan for 2022-2024 of the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities (CES) 2015 - 2024.
The Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities (CES) 2015 - 2024 is the primary vehicle for advancing the specific employment challenges faced by people with disabilities. It takes a cross-government approach, bringing together actions by Government Departments and Agencies to address the barriers and challenges to employment of people with disabilities. The CES’s strategic priorities are to build skills, capacity and independence, to provide bridges and supports into work, to make work pay, to promote job retention and re-entry to work, to provide coordinated and seamless supports and to engage employers.
Implementation of the Strategy is undertaken through agreed action plans and is monitored by an Implementation Group with an independent Chairperson: Fergus Finlay. Currently the group is monitoring the CES Phase Two Action Plan which covers the period 2019 – 2021. The CES Phase Three Action Plan will shortly be developed, and the ESRI and OECD reports are both valuable and timely in that context. Separately, my Department is funding the Employers for Change project which provides support to employers to recruit and retain people with disabilities. My Department will also bring forward legislative proposals in the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill to increase the target for employment of people with disabilities in the public sector from 3% to 6% by 2024.