How does the portal help promote successful inclusion of people with disabilities in the primary labor market?
Decker: People often have attitudinal barriers. If you or a colleague suddenly suffers from an illness or disability, it instantly affects labor force participation. This is the time when you need access to comprehensive information. Generally, those affected by this situation are initially unaware of their basic rights, best practices, financial assistance, and points of contact. There are many available programs and financial aid opportunities for both employer and employee, including a multitude of services and support options. REHADAT helps those looking for comprehensive information to overcome potential barriers.
Real examples of inclusion in the workplace can encourage other employers to hire more people with disabilities or to find solutions for employees and break down barriers in the process. This is the only way to build an inclusive workplace. Workers and the representative body for disabled employees ("Schwerbehindertenvertretung") can find practical solutions to problems. Quite often, minor accommodations and adjustments can safeguard the labor force participation of people with disabilities.
Incidentally, the success of REHADAT Gute Praxis portal depends on participation: the more examples we show, the better we can promote and personify inclusion. That’s why we welcome all practical examples, work interaction contracts, action plans for companies, and interviews. Simply put, help us put best practices into action.
What does inclusion mean to you?
Decker: An inclusive society ensures participation, self-determination, and equal opportunities for ALL people. In my view, this means society must recognize, accept, and appreciate diversity and embrace all of its aspects. For example, we must get away from viewing accommodations and supports for people with disabilities that ensure accessibility as special treatment and develop a solution-focused mindset as a matter of course. There are many ways to promote inclusion and participation. That’s why it is baffling to continuously spot issues in the practical implementation of these aspects – whether it pertains to school, work or other life settings. Far too often, people with disabilities face unnecessary barriers that result in discrimination and disadvantage. There are countless solutions, and many of them are easy to implement. There can never be enough awareness and education in this area. Many examples of successful inclusion emphasize the power of a positive mindset, wealth of information and education, and pragmatic approaches.