At least 5% of the positions in a company with more than 20 workers must be occupied by People with disabilities. This will be a new obligation for employers in Mexico after the approval in the Senate of the addition to the Federal Labor Law (LFT) of a special chapter to serve this sector of the population.
The Senate approved the reform unanimously. The minutes passed to the Chamber of Deputies, who will have the last word to materialize these legal changes that will regulate issues of hiring, training, education and professionalization of the workforce with a disability. In addition to the principles that must be observed in the labor relations of these workers.
According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), in our country there are about 21 million people with a limitation or disability. Despite the fact that 16% of the population is in this condition, people with disabilities have more difficulty entering the labor market and, when they do, their chances of having a formal job with a good income are low.
only the 19% of workers with disabilities has a formal job and their average monthly income tends to be lower among the labor force with some limitation, according to a diagnosis made by the National Council for the Development and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (Conadis) and the former Ministry of Development Social (Sedesol).
“One of the most painful and heartfelt issues for people with disabilities is precisely not being able to be included in companies to develop a job,” said Senator Patricia Mercado (MC), secretary of the Senate Labor and Social Welfare Commission. In this sense, the legislator pointed out that despite the progress that our country has made in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities, the policies of labor inclusion they have fallen short “because a low rate of employment remains among this population.”
The 5% labor inclusion quota is just one of the new obligations that employers could have if the reform is endorsed in the Chamber of Deputies. In addition to the hiring percentage, companies must establish criteria and procedures that favor the recruitment and permanence of People with disabilities; sensitize recruiting staff on issues of labor inclusion and make reasonable adjustments within organizations to ensure access to the physical environment, information, communication and other services.
“The approval of this opinion is not a show of good will, but an indispensable act of justice. We are talking about more than 7% of the population. It is time to tear down the walls that marginalize millions of people from employment and thereby pay off the debt that the State owes to that population”, stressed Patricia Mercado, legislator of Movimiento Ciudadano.
The new legal obligations
Currently, the Federal Labor Law it does not contemplate any special regulations for the work of people with disabilities beyond the prohibition of discrimination or having adequate facilities for the access and development of this population, a provision that only applies to workplaces with more than 50 people.
In this sense, the reform approved by the Upper House establishes the following obligations for employers:
- Establish criteria and procedures that favor the hiring, permanence, training and job promotion of people with disabilities, without discrimination and with equal opportunities.
- Implement a support model to provide assistance during the initial job incorporation process.
- Guarantee that in workplaces with 20 or more employees, at least 5% of the workforce are people with disabilities.
- Apply measures in the workplace to ensure access for people with disabilities to the physical environment, information, communications and other services.
- Provide job training to people with disabilities in conditions of equity and equal opportunities.
- Establish recruitment, selection and hiring procedures under the principles of fairness, equal opportunities and full inclusion.
- Eliminate direct or indirect discrimination against people with disabilities from selection procedures. Actions must be taken to allow for universal job application forms.
- Promote and sensitize the staff involved in the recruitment, selection and hiring procedure regarding the labor inclusion of this population.
- Respect and guarantee accessible, safe and healthy working conditions for people with disabilities.
- Guarantee the adequate remunerative salary, working hours and other working conditions in fairness and equal opportunities.
- Ensure that people with disabilities have access to promotion opportunities, in conditions of fairness and equal opportunities. In the cases that merit it, promote the adequacy of labor functions and other benefits associated with employment, as long as it is for the benefit of the worker.
The reform to the LFT states that the Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) and the local labor authorities will be in charge of monitoring the application of these provisions, verifying:
- Equal conditions with the rest of the workers.
- Working conditions that promote fair and favorable equity and inclusion.
- Remuneration salary under the following principle: equal work, equal salary.
- Accessible, safe and healthy working conditions.
- Protection and prevention against harassment and sexual harassment, as well as mistreatment.
- Reparation of damage for acts of discrimination.
The STPS would also be responsible for developing programs to promote public policies that protect and guarantee training, employment, contracting, and union rights; Encourage the labor inclusion and career advancement; and promote access to public and private job banks for people with disabilities.
Real inclusion, not by campaign
According to a survey conducted by Mercer in Mexico, 17% of companies are silent on diversity, equity and inclusion policies; they do very little, they don’t have an action plan and they don’t communicate anything about it either. Meanwhile, a 41% of companies in Mexico they are only inclusive on emblematic dates, they only reinforce positions and policies on days such as Labor Inclusion, Women’s or LGBT+ Pride.
Among the legal modifications endorsed in the Senate, the People with disabilities They shall have the right to request from employers the reasonable adjustments necessary for the performance of their duties.
In this sense, employers may not allege budget insufficiency to carry out progressive measures that guarantee accessibility in the workplace. “The fact that a workplace is not accessible will not justify the lack of employment of People with disabilities”, refers to the reform.
Mercer’s survey concluded that there is a wide area of opportunity between what companies believe should be worked on in terms of inclusion, gender equality and diversityand what they are actually working on to implement them.