Agreement on employment of people with disabilities in civil service

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In October 2001, France's civil service minister and five trade unions signed a protocol agreement on the employment of people with disabilities in the central government civil service, with the aim of reaching a 6% quota set by 1987 legislation on the issue.

A protocol agreement on the employment of people with disabilities in the central government civil service was signed on 9 October 2001 by the civil service minister and five trade unions - the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (Confédération française démocratique du travail, CFDT), the French Christian Workers' Confederation (Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens, CFTC), the French Confederation of Professional and Managerial Staff-General Confederation of Professional and Managerial Staff (Confédération française de l'encadrement-Confédération générale des cadres, CFE-CGC), the Unitary Union Federation (Fédération Syndicale Unitaire, FSU) and the National Federation of Independent Unions (Union nationale des syndicats autonomes, UNSA).

The protocol aims to achieve the quota of 6% of people with disabilities among state civil servants, as set by a 1987 law (FR0101120F). The proportion is currently 3.1% in the central government civil service (4%, if Ministry of Education employees are excluded), compared with 5.4% in public hospitals and 4.5% in local authorities (regions, départements, towns and villages).

The main provisions of the new agreement are as follows.

  • Each ministry or public organisation has until December 2001 to produce a three-year plan for increasing the employment of workers with disabilities and integrating them into the workforce. These plans, amongst other matters, will contain precise annual recruitment targets. There will be local versions of these targets, which will be included in 'département-level integration plans for workers with disabilities' (Plans départementaux d'insertion de travailleurs handicapés, PDITHs).
  • After three years have elapsed, non-compliance with the 6% quota may be penalised by a freeze on, or postponement of, recruitment to vacancies not filled by workers with disabilities and/or by imposing contributions to the Interministerial Fund for the Integration of Workers with Disabilities (Fonds interministériel d'insertion des travailleurs handicapés).
  • Access for disabled people to the competitive civil service entrance exams will be improved, while direct hiring on contracts without civil servant status will take the place of 'reserved jobs' for people with disabilities from 2002.
  • Finding new jobs within the civil service for employees who become disabled will be improved by faster offers of new positions (within three months), searching for solutions at département level (including in other public bodies) and financial compensation for switching to half-time working if a disability gets worse.
  • The appointment of a 'disability officer' in each civil service department, and corresponding staff at département level.
  • Inclusion in the ministries' long-term training plans of a section dealing with employees with disabilities.
  • An overhaul of jobs and functions in partnership with bodies such as the National Agency for the Improvement of Working Conditions (Agence Nationale pour l'Amélioration des Conditions de Travail, ANACT) and the Association for Management of the Occupational Integration Fund for People with Disabilities (Association de Gestion du Fonds pour l'Insertion Professionnelle des Personnes Handicapees, Agefiph).
  • A simplification of procedures for the recognition of the status of workers with disabilities in the civil service.
  • An increase in funding for the Interministerial Fund for the Integration of Workers with Disabilities, rising from FRF 15 million (EUR 2.28 million) in 2001 to FRF 43 million (EUR 6.5 million) in 2002.
  • The establishment of a steering committee on which the signatories to the protocol sit, and whose task is to monitor the implementation process.

CFDT believes that the accord 'indicates the strong political backing for increasing recruitment of workers with disabilities into the central government civil service', and wants a similar measure to be drawn up for the other two branches of the civil service (hospitals and local authorities). However, the General Confederation of Labour (Confédération générale du travail, CGT) and the General Confederation of Labour-Force ouvrière (Confédération générale du travail-Force ouvrière, CGT-FO) did not sign the protocol, as they felt that hiring contract labour without civil servant status was the first step on the road to increasing precariousness among workers, even though the protocol provides that these workers will become fully-fledged civil servants after a maximum two-year period.

During the fifth 'employment for people with disabilities week', held on 11-18 November 2001, the junior Minister for the Family, Children and People with Disabilities, Ségolène Royal, announced that the number of grants for integrating workers with disabilities paid out by Agefiph would be increased by one third in 2002, reaching a total of around 40,000. Increased support from the National Employment Agency (Agence Nationale Pour l'Emploi, ANPE) has already been secured (FR0109176N).

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