Norway's Initial Report

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Jobs Strategy for Persons with Disabilities

251. In 2012, the then Norwegian government presented Jobs Strategy for Persons with Disabilities. See: The Jobs Strategy was continued in 2013 and 2014. The primary target group is long-term receivers of benefits under the age of 30 in need of employment-oriented assistance in entering ordinary employment. Young people under the age of 30 with a disability needing assistance in entering the ordinary labour market are a high priority group for the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration. The Jobs Strategy identifies four barriers that can prevent persons with disabilities entering the labour market. The barriers are defined as: discrimination, cost, productivity, and information and attitude barriers. The measures in the Jobs Strategy are designed to reduce these barriers. The primary strategy comprises measures, follow-up and facilitation in ordinary working life. Measures have been implemented to support the work on the Jobs Strategy.

Mental health and working life

252. The prevalence of mental disorders in Norway is roughly the same as in other Western countries. The majority of those with a mental health problem participate in working life. However, a large proportion of the population is excluded from working life. Oppfølgingsplan for arbeid og psykisk helse [Follow-up plan for work and mental health] (2013–2016) is intended to ensure comprehensive, appropriate and coordinated assistance from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration and the healthcare sector to persons with mental health problems to enable them to complete an education and participate in working life. The plan also covers measures in the area of educational policy, including programmes for preventing mental health and substance abuse problems in schools. The plan also contains measures for paving the way for pupils with mental health and substance abuse problems to complete secondary education. The follow-up plan applies for the period 2013–2016.

Inclusive Working Life Agreement

253. The Inclusive Working Life Agreement is a tripartite cooperation between the Norwegian government and the social partners. It is designed bring about a more inclusive working life for the benefit of the individual employee, the workplace and society at large, to reduce sickness absence and unemployment benefit, and to ensure that the resources and work capability of the individual are developed and used in active work. Follow-up of the agreement is the responsibility of the Working Life and Pension Policy Council. An extensive and active cooperation has been established among the relevant authorities and parties to implement and follow up these measures at central, regional and local level. The agreement has three subsidiary goals: to reduce sickness absence, to increase the employment of persons with disabilities and to extend the labour force participation of persons aged over 50. The current agreement applies to the period 2014–2018, and is the fourth in a series of agreements that started in 2001. There is general agreement to intensify efforts to include persons with disabilities in working life in the new agreement period.
254. In the new agreement, both the authorities and the social parties have committed themselves to paving the way for activities that promote this objective. Efforts will be directed primarily at youngsters who need assistance to enter the labour market, and who with appropriate follow-up and facilitation can be found employment. This is a group that it is particularly important to include in working life, in order to prevent them going from education to permanent benefits. A report published by the Fafo research foundation in 2014 shows that enterprises with an inclusive working life agreement have more disabled employees and employ more persons with disabilities. Enterprises with these agreements also have more positive attitudes to recruitment of persons with disabilities than enterprises that have not signed the agreement.

Individual accommodation

255. The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act has provisions concerning individual accommodation for employees and job-seekers with disabilities. The Working Environment Act also has provisions concerning special accommodation for employees with a reduced capacity for work. According to the latter, the employer has a special obligation to provide individual support for employees with reduced capacity for work and for employees who at some stage of the working relationship develop a need for facilitation. The duty to provide support applies to all employees with reduced capability or capacity for work, irrespective of whether it is short- or long-term, and irrespective of the employee's age, position level and whether the employee is temporarily or permanently employed.
256. Persons with disability benefits who need special accommodation and follow-up can be offered permanent adapted work in a sheltered or ordinary enterprise. This work is intended to enable participants develop their resources through facilitated work, and to acquire qualifications through the production of goods and services. The programme does not have a time limit.

Persons with intellectual disabilities

257. Persons with intellectual disabilities have the same right to work as others. Those who cannot take part in ordinary working life must have an option of facilitated work. Most people with intellectual disabilities will need assistance in entering employment after completing their education. The assistance may be temporary or more long-term, depending on whether the needs for assistance are simple or more complex. Several types of measures have been established that are particularly relevant for persons with intellectual disabilities. The most widely used is permanent adapted work (see above).

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