Disabled workers: hiring them is worthwhile

Work is essential to the effective inclusion and self-affirmation of people with disability, as it is for everybody else. Unfortunately, data about their employment are far from being reassuring: in Italy, despite many measures approved since decades to encourage the inclusion of disabled workers, 80% of people with a disability is unemployed. They aren’t “unable”, but people that, despite limitations descending from their specific disability, would have the ability and skills to be active also under a work perspective, if they’d have been given the opportunity.

There are many laws to facilitate the inclusion of disabled people in the world of work, together with incentives and facilitations for businesses that hire them. The 68/99 law, that established the so-called “disability hiring quotas” has proven to be, in many ways, inadequate to the current world of work. For that reason, through the Jobs Act, an important change has been introduced, through the legislative decree no. 151 of September 14th 2015, entered into force starting from January 1st 2018*.   

1. OBligation to hire disabled workers

  • Less than 15 employees: no obligation
  • From 15 to 35 employees: at least 1 disabled worker
  • From 36 to 50 employees: at least 2 workers with disability
  • More than 150 employees: at least 7% of disabled employees, more 1% of relatives of invalid people or repatriated refugees. 

lavoratori disabili

2.  BONUS to hire disabled workers (since 2016)

Since 2016, businesses that hire workers with reduced working capacity receive a bonus, whose value depends on the percentage of disability of the hired worker:

  • for working capacity reduction from 67% to 79%, the employer receives a hiring bonus equal to 35% of the monthly gross salary for 36 months;
  • for reductions above 79%, the employer receives a bonus equal to 70% of the monthly gross salary for a maximum of 36 months, for each worker hired with a permanent contract;
  • for workers with intellectual and psychical disability implicating a working capacity reduction above 45%, in case of hiring with a permanent contract or with a temporary contract whose length is at least 12 months, a bonus equal to 70% of the monthly gross salary for a maximum of 60 months.

Requests for the incentive must be addressed to INPS, filling the appropriate form available on its website, in the businesses area.

lavoratori disabili riunione

3. sanctions for non-compliance with the obligation

Sanctions against employers not complying with the obligation to hire workers with disability have been worsened. In detail, they pass from 62,77€ for each working day of non-compliance (beyond 60 days from the insurgence of the obligation) to 153,20€ for each day without covering the obligatory quota and for each disabled worker not hired.

But, besides tax benefits and sanctions, businesses would have to realize that hiring a worker with disability shouldn’t be just an “act of charity” or a law obligation: a worker with disability assigned to tasks fitting with his own condition is not a weight, but an additional and valuable resource for the company. If only they’d give us the chance to demonstrate our ability and skills, without stopping to our disability percentage or being influenced by prejudice…

*Due to the Milleproroghe Decree

“Milleproroghe” decree and right to work for people with disability

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.

Milleproroghe decree and work for disabled people

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.

Job interview and disability: how to deal with it

Job interviews, we know, is a very stressful experience for everyone, since it’s full of expectations, hope… and a good dose of anxiety! But, when the candidate is a disabled person, another embarrassment sums up to the interview anxiety: “How are they dealing with my disability? Will I have to talk about it? If so, how and to what extent? Do I have to bring some documents about it?” and so on. So, let’s try to clarify.

DisabilitY: to talk or not to talk about it?

If you have applied and are being interviewed for is addressed to “protected categories” (I don’t know what you think, but I hate this expression: I’m not an endangered animal!), the interviewer obviously expects to meet a disabled person, so it’s normal that he asks something about your condition, to understand if it’s compatible with the tasks required by the specific position. There’s nothing strange or detrimental in that. On the contrary, it’s the right time for you to express particular needs, if any (for instance, if you’ll regularly need some days off for medical examinations or therapies, and, if so, you’ll have to request the permits as per the 104/92 law) or ask something more specific about the daily tasks you’ll be supposed to carry out. Don’t panic: you won’t have to give up your privacy, sharing too many details about your disease or medical history! You’ll only have to briefly explain if you won’t be able to carry out some tasks or, for instance, you’ll need specific tools or adjustments to your workstation.

which documents do you have to bring to the interview?

As I wrote earlier, you don’t need to bring with you all the documents detailing our medical history (thank God!). On the contrary, it can be useful to bring with you (in addition to your resume and other professional documents, if needed, of course!):

Anything else is redundant. Because, as it happens to whoever faces a job interview, at that time, the focus won’t be on your disability or medical history, but on your skills, background and ambitions.

Are you going to face a job interview in these days? Good luck and, while preparing for it, have a look at these tips from the recruiters from Jobmetoo!



B&B Like Your Home: accessibility and inclusion

Big projects often arise from a casual intuition or a fortuitous meeting. This is, exactly, the case for B&B Like Your Home, a wonderful project focusing on accessibility, inclusion and empowerment of people with a disability strongly wanted by Cetty Ummarino, a woman that, in front of issues, doesn’t give up, but looks for a solution and doesn’t stop ‘til she has found it. I had the pleasure to meet Cetty and talk with her about this project thanks to shared professional contacts, so I want you to know her as well.

What’s B&B Like Your Home?

It’s a network of bed & breakfasts   that have been made suitable for all tourists’ needs, including those with a disability or with specific needs (for instance, celiac people), directly managed by disabled people, supported by their families and caregivers. The goal isn’t just to create accomodation facilities suitable for disabled tourists’ specific needs, but also to give value to abilities and skills of people with motoric, sensory or cognitive disabilities working in tourism and food services, promoting their inclusion in the world of work, usually quite tricky for them. As of today, this network, which is unique of this kind in Italy, counts 15 facilities distributed in the areas of Naples and Salerno.

B&B Like Your Home

How did the idea of B&B Like Your Home arise?

At it often occurs, it arose casually. I work in training for the tourism industry, mainly delivering “on the job” training in the internal areas of Campania, which are often less prepared, compared with the coast, to effectively manage food service and tourism in general. During a business trip, I met a girl with a severe motoric disability and I realized that, for people like her, it’s often difficult “to go towards the world”, due to so many architectural and cultural barriers. Then, I realized that I had to do something concrete to help them, going beyond mere welfarism, to give value to their abilities and skills.

Cetty Ummarino presents B&B Like Your Home at Startup Italian Open 2016

Cetty Ummarino presents B&B Like Your Home at Startup Italian Open 2016

Which is the peculiarity of facilities which join the B&B Like Your Home network?

These facilities already host people with a particular disability, therefore are equipped to satisfy the needs of who lives a similar condition (for instance, in the b&b managed by a blind person you’ll easily find alarm clocks for blind people,  in one managed by someone with a motoric disability there will be suitable aids and expedients), without excluding all the other tourists (including the “able-bodied” ones).  This way, we can give dignity to work, to disabled guys and to what they do, since, besides managing the facility and preparing meals (following the home restaurant model), they handcraft and sell objects. So, somewhat, they also become ambassadors of their territory.

B&B Like Your Home

What are B&B Like Your Home plans for 2017?

We want to expand our network to cover also Benevento, Avellino and Caserta areas, opening to over 60 and adapting our business model to tourist flats, in addition to bed & breakfasts. We’ve also planned collateral initiatives, to promote the work inclusion of disabled people and the matching among them and the businesses operating on their territory.

Indeed, it’s an ambitious project, but – I’m sure! – it will go on growing. Also because Cetty’s strength and energy are really contagious!

Disability manager: an inclusion facilitator

We’ve been talking many times about the importance of work to reach the full inclusion of people with disability in the society, underlining that, in our country, we have many laws and measures aiming to facilitate this process. Nevertheless, even during the V National Conference about disability policies, that took place in Florence in September, an issue clearly stood out: the full employment for disabled people in the working age is still a distant goal. How to reach it? The measures proposed during the conference include the introduction, in all the private businesses, of the disability manager. Who is a disability manager and what does he do, exactly?

Disability Manager

a little bit of history

Disability management, as an approach, arose at the end of ‘80s, spreading, in the beginning, in Canada, in the USA and in the Northern Europe. In Italy, somebody mentioned it in 2009, thinking about the disability manager as a profile to include into the public administration offices, to act as a facilitator, designing solutions to guarantee the maximum level of autonomy for disabled people in every field of life, from urban accessibility to school inclusion, from work to tourism. In 2010, the SIDIMA (Italian Disability Manager Society) was established: now it gathers more than 150 members all over Italy.

how to become a disability manager?

The disability manager is a professional (architect, doctor, physiatrist, social worker, lawyer, etc.) who specialized in this field through an appropriate university course (nowadays, such courses are active in Milan, Naples and Padua), acquiring high level technical skills, marketable both in the public administration and in private businesses.

disability manager and work

How would the disability manager contribute to the working inclusion of disabled people? He would be in charge of facilitating the relationship between the company and the disabled worker, both during the selection, hiring and onboarding processes and throughout his career in that organization, guaranteeing the removal of all the obstacles preventing the worker (no matter if his disability is congenital or happened during his working path) to access work or to carry it out well, regardless of his condition of disability, identifying the most appropriate solutions (for instance, smart working).


Similar processes, in Italy, are already in place in some big companies (including, for instance, UniCredit, Enel, Eli Lilly) and public administrations (for instance, the municipalities of Bologna and Alessandria). We hope they spread further, to the benefit of the whole society.