Activating the ‘Inactive’. Employment Policy for Disabled People in Germany in a Comparative View

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Angela RAUCH, Institute for Employment Research, Germany
Regina KONLE-SEIDL, Institute for Employment Research, Germany
Across the OECD on average 14 per cent of the working-age population classify themselves as disabled. People with disabilities are often considered as particularly disadvantaged especially in the labour market. The majority of people with disability are non-employed or ‘inactive’ regarding their labour market participation. In consequence, there was a substantial rise in disability benefit rolls in many countries. In recent years a greater awareness arose that people with disabilities are able and willing to work together. In this context it was increasingly recognized that protecting the economic security of people with disabilities might best be done by keeping them in the labour market and changed the form of public protection to working-age individuals with disabilities in recent years. This is also reflected in the 2008 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The countries having ratified the convention are committed to enable people with disabilities to work in an open, inclusive and accessible labour market that will ensure sustainable and secure livelihoods. In comparison to other welfare states, we describe the evolution of the German disability programmes. Germany has been an exception to the international trend as the rates of disability benefit recipients have been low over decades. We discuss how policy choices played a role and analyse the pathways into employment, unemployment or invalidity benefit of people with health problems. In our descriptive and comparative paper we analyse the factors explaining the divergent trend in Germany and discuss whether policymakers in other countries might benefit from German policies to transform disability benefit schemes into activating labour market programmes.