South Africa commemorates National Disability Rights Awareness Month annually between 3 November and 3 December. 3 December is the International Day of Persons with
Disabilities and is also commemorated as National Disability Rights Awareness Day. The international theme proclaimed by the United National is: Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.
Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Barriers, such as widespread ignorance and stereotypes, have caused people with disabilities to be unfairly discriminated against in society and in employment. For these reasons, people with disabilities are a designated group in terms of the Employment Equity Act, 1998. The purpose of this Act is to remove unfair discrimination and to promote equity in the workplace. This Act protects people with disabilities and others against unfair discrimination and, as a previously disadvantaged group, disabled people are eligible to benefit from affirmative action programs.
The Minister of Labor has also approved a Code of Good Practice on the Employment of People with Disabilities in terms of the Employment Equity Act. The Code is a guide for employers and workers to encourage equal opportunities and fair treatment of people with disabilities. It also helps to create awareness of the contributions that people with disabilities can make in the workplace.
This Disability Awareness Month offers an opportunity for every single person and institution to remove these barriers and to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through concrete action.
Start by acting -
1. Conduct a workplace disability audit
2. Draft a Disability Policy
3. Provide Disability Awareness training for all employees
4. Draft a Diversity & Inclusion Policy
Inclusion is within everyone’s ability!
It is our collective responsibility as businesses to create a world where everyone feels safe, valued, respected, and comfortable to bring their authentic.
Tiffany Reed: HR Consultant - Compliance Hub