Norway's Initial Report



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Employer attitudes


258. A survey of employer attitudes conducted by Fafo in 2013 showed that employers do not necessarily associate disability with reduced capacity for work, and certainly not with high sickness absence. Only seven per cent did not agree that all enterprises should endeavour to employ qualified persons with disabilities. The same survey showed that 44 per cent of enterprises in Norway have employed persons with disabilities, 41 per cent of them private and 54 per cent public enterprises. See also Article 9.

The state as employer


259. The Government strives to achieve diversity in the government workforce, and considers it very important to create conditions that enable government enterprises to make use of the expertise and manpower of persons with disabilities. The Civil Service Act (central government employees) has special rules for persons with disabilities. If there are qualified applicants who have a disability, at least one such applicant must be called in for an interview. There are stringent restrictions on who is considered to have a disability according to these rules. The Civil Service Act also has a rule that a qualified applicant with a disability can be appointed even if there are more highly qualified applicants. The central government trainee programme for persons with disabilities and higher education has now become an established scheme. An interview and evaluation of applicants is conducted in the usual manner.
260. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation has the role of employer in the central government. It encourages public-sector undertakings to recruit more persons with disabilities, and uses guidelines, information, awareness-raising and knowledge development to achieve this goal. Examples of this are guidelines for diversity recruitment, guidelines on public-sector undertakings' equal opportunities reports as part of their activity and reporting obligation, and breakfast seminars on diversity recruitment. Efforts are also made to encourage public-sector undertakings to establish more trainee places for persons with disabilities.

Article 28 Satisfactory standard of living and social protection

261. See also Articles 19 and 27.



Social services


262. The objective of the Act on Social Services in the Labour and Welfare Administration is to contribute to social and financial security, enable the individual to live in a self-sufficient manner, and assist the transition to working life, social inclusion and active participation in society. The Act must contribute to ensuring children and adolescents and their families receive a comprehensive and coordinated range of services, contribute to equal worth and equal opportunities, and prevent social problems. The Act applies to everyone, irrespective of functional ability. The Act provides substantial scope for the use of professional discretion in arriving at flexible solutions tailored to the needs of the individual in need of help. Financial support pursuant to this Act must ensure everyone of acceptable subsistence, including coverage of expenses for food, clothing, housing, etc. In the assessment of what is acceptable subsistence, the individual situation of the benefit recipient, including disability, can provide guidelines for the level of support.

National insurance scheme


263. Persons with disabilities have the same rights to pension and national insurance benefits as the rest of the population. Norway has a national and universal national insurance scheme; see Article 4.

Social housing measures


264. The Norwegian State Housing Bank administers a number of loan and subsidy schemes intended to help attain the housing policy goals and the vision of the general possibility for everyone to live safely and well. The schemes have different objectives and orientations, but common to all is their triggering by housing situation and need, not personal functional ability. There is no significant difference between the general population and persons with disabilities in terms of the proportion of owner-occupancy.

Article 29 Participation in political and public life

265. Article 101 of the Constitution establishes that everyone has the right to form, join and leave associations including trade unions and political parties. All people may meet in peaceful assemblies and demonstrations.



Elections


266. Accessibility to elections is largely regulated by two acts: the Election Act and the Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act. Norwegian municipalities are responsible for good facilitation in connection with elections. Accessibility to elections has to do with both the premises used as polling stations and how they should be adapted to meet accessibility requirements.
267. The Election Act sets some requirements for premises used as polling stations. They must be both suitable for registering votes and accessible for voters. Voters must be able to enter polling stations without assistance. Alternative premises must only be used in the case of "special reasons". A decision to use alternative premises must be based on a rigorous assessment. The election regulations contain requirements regarding easy accessibility inside the polling stations themselves, including signage/labelling, accessibility, logistics, lighting and voting equipment.
268. The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act requires the election authorities to ensure accessibility for all, irrespective of functional ability. The duty to make active efforts under the Act requires municipalities to be aware of whether the election premises satisfy the requirements of universal design. Surroundings and materials must be designed so that they can be used by people of all ages and with different skills, capacity and functional ability. Factors concerning mobility, sight, hearing, understanding comprehension or sensitivity to the environment are of key importance.
269. The authorities have also worked actively to improve accessibility to voting in recent years. Voting equipment that meets universal design requirements can be ordered by the municipalities. The Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted and other user groups took part in testing the equipment. The voting equipment includes election booths, ballot boxes, signage programmes and a new type of ballot paper. Perhaps most importantly, election booths can now be used by everyone, including wheelchair users.
270. In addition, guidelines and subsidy schemes have been established in order to facilitate participation in elections for people with various types of disabilities and to increase knowledge about voting.
271. At the parliamentary election in 2009, there was no significant difference in participation between persons with disabilities aged 20–66 and the general population in the same age group. Nor is there any significant difference in the proportion who are members of an organisation (EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions – EU-SILC 2011). A 2011 report from the Centre for Research on Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector also shows that there is little difference when it comes to the proportion who hold or have held political offices.


Municipal committees for people with disabilities

272. The establishment of municipal committees for persons with disabilities is intended to influence local government democratic processes. The Act relating to a Municipal or County Council Committee or Other Representation Scheme for Persons with Disabilities, etc. requires municipal or county authorities to ensure that persons with disabilities are assured of open, broad-based and accessible participation in work on matters of particular importance to persons with disabilities. This applies to physical access and other initiatives to counter discrimination based on disability. The Act requires that municipalities establish councils or other representation schemes for persons with disabilities. The municipal councils have an advisory function in relation to municipal and county authorities and help to ensure that persons with disabilities are heard.


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