This award was initiated by Salva Vita Foundation to bring together people with disabilities and employers that are open to hiring them. The scheme is open to organisations that agree to continually develop and improve their practice of employing people with disabilities. The award comes with a logo which the employer can freely use on any communication surface (e.g. job announcements) thereby promoting its openness and willingness to hire people with disabilities.
Detailed description of the programme and its goals
Companies participating in the Disability-Friendly Workplace programme are required to define short- and medium-term goals (3 months, and 2 years). These goals refer to developments that they should undertake to facilitate the integration of people with disabilities, the shaping of the workplace environment, the preparation of employees, and, eventually, their long-term, successful employment. Companies are contacted on a regular basis and Salva Vita Foundation carries out on-site monitoring three months into the programme, and after two years as well.
Act XXVI. of 1998 on the provision of the rights of people with disabilities and their equality of opportunity stipulates that a person living with a disability is “anyone who is – to a significant extent or entirely – not in possession of his/her sensory – particularly visual, hearing – locomotor or intellectual functions, or who is substantially restricted in communication and is thereby placed at a permanent disadvantage regarding active participation in the life of society.”
The Disability-Friendly Workplace award is given to companies that successfully meet the goals defined in their proposals. It is handed over to company representatives at a ceremony who are then entitled to use the label for the following two years, following which time the award should be renewed.
“We received positive feedback for trying to succeed in business this way too.”
Background, participants, and their responsibilities
There has been a similar programme in Great Britain since the 1990s, with the participation of several thousand employers. Salva Vita Foundation adapted the programme to the Hungarian environment and launched it in 2010.
“Ever since we were given the award, an increasing number of people with altered working capacity have sent us their CVs directly, referring to the logo.”
(Accor Pannonia Hotels Kft.)
In addition, the award is drawing attention to employers that are committed to employing people with disabilities and who are willing to make efforts to facilitate their integration in the open labour market.
Difficulties, strengths, results and key success factors
The success of the programme can be assessed based partly on the number of companies who have obtained the award, and partly on the level of public awareness of the programme. In March 2015 the total number of companies that had received the award was fifty. Salva Vita Foundation organizes events around the country to promote the programme and liaises with local chambers of commerce and industry, but it is not easy to attract employers as it requires an investment of time and energy on their part, for which they receive no financial reward. Typically, the employment of people with disabilities within a company is an additional task for the staff person responsible for it, even if the award is considered to be recognition of their work. This often holds companies back from participating. The same holds true for the workshops and all the events that are organized to facilitate experience exchange: there is demand for them, but it is often difficult for company representatives to find the time to participate.
“Receiving the Disability-Friendly Workplace award is high-level recognition of our work
and efforts so far. We are proud of it and at the same time it encourages us to continue with our innovation and work for an inclusive world for all.”
(Bárczy Gusztáv Faculty of Special Education, Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences)
Assessment of the practice and its results
The number of employers joining the programme is increasing year on year. Organisations that have received the award once typically re-apply 2-4-6 years later. Based on the responses of twenty-two companies which had already received the award to a survey conducted in December 2014, Salva Vita Foundation found that the award-winning companies are generally satisfied with the programme and the benefits the award brings, but would expect to see more publicity about it in the media and to have more opportunities for exchanging best practice.
The programme is financed from grants and is supported by the Ministry of Human Resources (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma, EMMI).