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HomeFEATURED ARTICLEPromoting Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities: Legal Framework in Nigeria

Promoting Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities: Legal Framework in Nigeria

In the journey towards fostering inclusivity and ensuring equal opportunities for all, Nigeria has made significant strides in enacting laws and policies to promote decent work for persons with disabilities. This comprehensive legal framework spans national, regional, and international levels, reflecting a commitment to upholding the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities in the workplace.

National Laws and Policies

At the national level, the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 stands as a beacon of protection, explicitly prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in various spheres, including employment. Mandating reasonable accommodations, this law strives to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities in the workforce. The Law also established the National Commission For Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD) which saddles with the responsibility of ensuring compliance to the law.

The Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 contains several provisions that address decent work for persons with disabilities:

  1. Section 28 – Right To Work: This section prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment matters. It mandates employers to provide reasonable accommodation to enable persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others. This section also requires the government and private sector employers to provide vocational training and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. It emphasizes the need for inclusive recruitment practices and the promotion of equal access to employment.
  2. Section 29 – Quota in Public Employment: Although not explicitly mentioning “decent work,” Section 29 stipulates a 5 percent employment quota for persons with disabilities in all government establishments. This provision aims to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to public sector employment opportunities.

Overall, these sections of the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 contribute to the promotion of decent work for persons with disabilities by prohibiting discrimination, promoting vocational training, ensuring quota in public employment, and providing incentives for private sector employment.

Complementing this, the National Policy on Disability (NPD) of 2012 provides a strategic framework for addressing the multifaceted needs of persons with disabilities across Nigeria. From access to education and healthcare to employment opportunities, the NPD lays the groundwork for fostering inclusivity and empowering persons with disabilities to thrive in the workplace.

The National Policy on Disability emphasizes the importance of promoting decent work for persons with disabilities. It recognizes that persons with disabilities have the right to access employment opportunities on an equal basis with others. The policy aims to eliminate discrimination in the workplace and create an enabling environment that supports the full participation of persons with disabilities in the labour market.

Specifically, the policy highlights the need to provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace to ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively perform their job duties. It also calls for the implementation of affirmative action measures to increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities and improve their economic empowerment.

Furthermore, the National Policy on Disability emphasizes the importance of vocational training and skill development programs tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities. By equipping them with relevant skills and qualifications, the policy seeks to enhance their employability and promote their integration into the workforce.

Overall, the National Policy on Disability underscores the government’s commitment to promoting decent work for persons with disabilities as a fundamental aspect of their human rights and social inclusion.

Regional Laws and Policies

Regionally, Nigeria aligns itself with continental efforts to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights underscores the importance of ensuring just and favorable conditions of work for persons with disabilities, reaffirming their right to dignified employment.

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights does not specifically address disability rights in a standalone section. However, Article 18 of the Charter guarantees the right to work and to the enjoyment of favorable conditions of work. While this article does not explicitly mention disability, it can be interpreted as encompassing the rights of persons with disabilities to access employment on an equal basis with others and to enjoy reasonable accommodations in the workplace.

Furthermore, the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa amplifies these commitments, outlining measures to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities across the continent.

Article 15 specifically addresses the right to work. This article ensures that persons with disabilities have the right to work on an equal basis with others, including the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive, and accessible. It also guarantees reasonable accommodations in the workplace and the right to protection against unemployment.

International Laws and Policies

On the global stage, Nigeria’s commitment to promoting decent work for persons with disabilities is underscored by its ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Embracing principles of equality and non-discrimination, the UNCRPD emphasizes the right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others, setting a foundation for inclusive employment practices.

Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) addresses the right to work and employment. It emphasizes the right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others and to enjoy decent work opportunities. Specifically, Article 27 highlights the following:

  1. Equal Opportunity: It states that persons with disabilities have the right to work and employment on an equal basis with others. This means that they should not face discrimination in any aspect of employment, including recruitment, hiring, and promotion.
  2. Reasonable Accommodation: Article 27 requires governments and employers to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities in the workplace. Reasonable accommodation refers to adjustments or modifications that enable individuals with disabilities to perform their job duties effectively.
  3. Access to Vocational Guidance: The article emphasizes the importance of providing vocational guidance, training, and programs to persons with disabilities to facilitate their employment opportunities.
  4. Employment in the Open Labour Market: It encourages governments to promote employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in the open labour market. This includes measures to eliminate barriers to employment and to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the same job opportunities as others.

Overall, Article 27 of the UNCRPD underscores the importance of promoting inclusive employment practices and ensuring that persons with disabilities have equal access to decent work opportunities.

While not a signatory to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 159 (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons), Nigeria aligns with its principles, recognizing the importance of vocational rehabilitation and the integration of persons with disabilities into the labour market.

In the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth, Nigeria’s commitment to promoting inclusive economic growth resonates. By prioritizing inclusive employment strategies, Nigeria seeks to create a more equitable society where every individual, regardless of ability, can contribute meaningfully to national development.

In conclusion, Nigeria’s legal framework for promoting decent work for persons with disabilities reflects a collective commitment to fostering inclusivity, eliminating discrimination, and creating opportunities for all. As we continue on this journey, let us reaffirm our dedication to building a society where every individual has the chance to thrive and contribute to a brighter future for all.

Written by Comrade Chris Agbo, CEO, Founder, JOMIDA Foundation For Persons With Disabilities.

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