The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies yesterday passed a bill aimed at strengthening inclusion in employment for employees with disabilities and those in outplacement.

The creation of this new activity called "Assistance for inclusion in employment" has two objectives. On the one hand, the aim is to facilitate sustainable professional inclusion and, above all, the retention of people with disabled worker status as well as externally redeployed employees in the mainstream labour market by identifying their specific needs and by training members of their professional environment to the specificities of their disability or their reduced working capacity. On the other hand, this assistance aims to encourage companies to hire more employees with disabilities or those in outplacement by offering them access to an approved external expert to support the process of professional inclusion in the company.

The approval of Bill 7269 is a step forward in the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Luxembourg ratified in 2011 and which states that parties must take appropriate measures to promote the employment opportunities and advancement of persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as support for the search and obtention of employment, maintaining employment and when returning to work.

In addition, all decisions relating to assistance are taken, not unilaterally by the employer, but in close consultation with the employee in question. In order to promote the empowerment of people with disabilities, they have also been consulted and involved in various ways in the drafting process of the draft law.

To qualify for assistance, the disabled employee or the outplacement employee must either be hired by a private sector employer as part of an employment measure or be hired by a private sector employer under contract of employment. Assistance is requested jointly by the employer, the employee in question and the assistant or help desk. It should be noted that the latter must have an authorisation issued by the Minister having the policy for persons with disabilities in his/her attributions.

The request for assistance must be sent to the ADEM, which checks the application and notifies its approval or refusal, within one month. In case of a positive response, the assistant or the help desk prepares an individualised inclusion project that will be submitted again for approval to the ADEM. The latter's approval thus confirms the employee's right to support from the Employment Fund (an assistant or held desk) for the number of hours and the duration envisaged in the project.

The number of hours of assistance granted is fixed as follows: not more than 150 hours for an employment contract or ADEM measure in favour of the employment of at least 12 months, but less than 18 months; not more than 225 hours for an employment contract or ADEM measure in favour of employment of at least 18 months, but less than 24 months; a maximum of 300 hours for an employment contract or ADEM measure in favour of at least 24-months' employment.

The law only applies to employees with disabilities or outplacement employees who are hired by a private sector employer. Employees with disabilities or outplacement engaged with the state and municipalities can contact the psychosocial service of the Ministry of Public Service, which can accompany them in their inclusion and can offer external experts.