Some days ago, after the approval of the so-called “Milleproroghe” decree, a real frozen shower struck the hope of more than 70 thousand people with disability to see, finally, recognized (even though through the help of another law) a right that’s sanctioned, for everyone, by the 4th article of our Constitution: the right to work.
The Republic acknowledges the right for every citizen to work and promotes the conditions enabling this right. Every citizen must do, according to his possibilities and choice, a work or a job that contributes to the material or spiritual progress of the society
Should it be approved also by the Chamber of Deputies, the “Milleproroghe” decree would delay to January 1st 2018 the entering into force, for businesses with more than 15 employees, of the obligation to hire (whether they want or not to hire new employees) workers with disability, in order to avoid the fines established through the Jobs Act. Of course (and luckily!), the obligation to hire them in the percentage fixed for new hires would remain. But it’s clear that, a new delay of a stricter obligation would determine another obstacle to the real inclusion of disabled people in the world of work, with obvious effects on their acknowledgement as full members of the community.
There are businesses that, needing to hire new workers, aren’t influenced by their possible disability, but choose people according to their skills or background, taking advantage of them and enabling those people to fully contribute to the growth of the business itself. But these represent still rare, although very praiseworthy, exceptions, compared to many other businesses that, rather than hiring the (supposed) “dead loss” (the prejudice that the “protected categories” work less than others and are “always off work” is a die-hard), pay the fine or hire “protected categories” (no way: I really don’t like this expression…), even qualified, to make them work on low-level tasks or, as a matter of fact, impede their professional growth and career advancement.
In these years, I’ve often been contacted by businesses or staffing companies offering a work to me as a “protected category”, without taking into account my educational and professional background (that, luckily, includes qualifications and qualified experiences). When I ask whether they have read my resume or not, their reply is always the same: “Ehm… They look for a protected category… and you are!”. That sounds, more or less, like: “I’m offering you a job and you still complain?”. The sad side of the story is that this attitude is often common also among associations and institutions that should defend the right to work (and to equal opportunities in that field too) of people with disability: “They offered to you/ You’ve a job, what else do you want? You’d better look at who isn’t as lucky as you!”
Well, such an attitude cannot be removed only through laws, for sure. As Daniele Regolo, founder of Jobmetoo has pointed out, we need to work a lot on the disability culture, spreading everywhere the message that disability is just a condition and isn’t, itself, conflicting with the ability to work, even in responsibility positions (who says a disabled worker cannot move forward in his career?). But, waiting for positive outcomes from the work carried out also in this (enormous) field, laws must guarantee this right (not a “gracious permission”). But the “Milleproroghe” decree doesn’t go in this direction.