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Conference on “EU-China International Disability Employment Law
– From Sheltered Workshop to Supported Employment” was Successfully Held

 

By Translator Constance Li, March 10

 

Conference on “EU-China International Disability Employment Law – From Sheltered Workshop to Supported Employment” was successfully held in January 20th – 21th, 2018. This conference was jointly hosted by Shanghai Law Society, Law School of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE) and Shanghai Zhijun Public Interest & Law Institute. The Centre for Disability Law & Policy of National University of Ireland and The Disability Law Hub of University of Leeds Law School were the co-organizer. And Shanghai River Delta Law Firm and Department of Justice & Equality provided support. The top worldwide scholars with expertise in Disability Law from Harvard University, the Centre for Disability Law & Policy of National University of Ireland, the Irish National Disability Employment Strategy Steering Committee and the University of Leeds, experts and scholars from Renmin University of China, Fudan University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Wuhan University, East China University of Political Science and Law, East China University of Science and Technology, Southwest University of Political Science & Law, Guangzhou University, etc. as well as practitioners from practicing department such as China Disabled Persons' Federation attended the conference. There are more than 40 attendants. As the closing event of the series of events to mark SUFE Law School 30 Years’ Anniversary, the success of this conference suggested the wonderful ending of the 30 Years’ Anniversary celebration.

 

The Opening Ceremony was hosted by Prof. Wang Quanxing, the Professor of Law School of SUFE. Prof. Zheng Shaohua, the Assistant to President of SUFE and Mr. Lin Guoping, the Senior Vice Chairman of Shanghai Law Society were speakers. 

 

 

Prof. Zheng Shaohua indicated that disabled people are an important part of the community of human destinies. In order to ensure their integrated employment and their dignified lives, scholars, experts and practitioners in all fields should closely cooperate and study the corresponding new initiatives to support employment. Law School of SUFE has already had outstanding research results in the fields of Labor Law, Social Security Law and other fields. And this conference aims to further enhance the exchange and cooperation among domestic and foreign scholars.

 

 

Mr. Lin Guoping pointed out that EU countries have accumulated a great deal of theoretical and practical experience in terms of the system that provides support for the employment of persons with disabilities. Because of the corresponding needs in China and Shanghai, we will surely make achievement in the new mode, new thinking and new system for ensuring the employment of persons with disabilities, based on the in-depth exchange of experts from China and Europe countries. Represented Shanghai Law Society, Mr. Lin expressed his thanks to Law School of SUFE, Shanghai Zhijun Public Interest & Law Institute, Shanghai River Delta Law Firm and Center for Disability Law & Policy of National University of Ireland. Finally, he wished this conference a complete success.

 

 

This conference was divided into seven sessions.

 

Session One centered on “Global Standards of Disability Employment.” This session was hosted by Prof. Lu Zhian, the Associate Professor of Law School of Fudan University. Firstly, Prof. Gerald Quinn, Director of the Center for Disability Law & Policy of National University of Ireland, gave a speech on “UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) Article 27 ‘Disability Employment, A Preference for Open & Supported Employment Market’”, represented the Ph.D Candidate Yanni Rustian, who was unable to be on scene. Prof. Quinn pointed out that the European Union’s legislation on disability policy is in line with the United Nations and global development trends. The precondition for an independent life is to guarantee economic independence. Therefore, Article 27 of “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” generally reflects the shift in values, that is, the importance attached to individual rights and the promotion of individuals’ integration into society. First, it is necessary to turn disabled people from policy objects into active participants. Second, people with disabilities must be regarded as a kind of wealth of society. As a part of the social community, disabled people is very valuable to the progress of society. In addition, the most important thing in building a reasonable market plan is to build an integrated education mechanism.

 

Ms. Li Jing, the Deputy Director of Center for the Protection of Rights and Interests of Persons’ with Disabilities of Renmin University, gave a speech on “Disability Employment Goal under 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.” She pointed out that China has established a legal and normative system for protecting the rights and interests of people with disabilities from the central government to the local government. However, in practice, the employment of disabled people is still relatively difficult. Even highly-educated persons with disabilities cannot successfully obtain employment. Therefore, full employment, decent employment, and equal pay for equal work should be taken as new goals for the disability employment legislation. And the legislative goals should be achieved through the improvement of judicial relief.

 

Mr. Stefan Tromel, the Advanced Disability Specialist of International Labor Organization, shared the international treaties, standards and ILO practices for the employment of persons with disabilities by video talk. As the commentator of this session, Prof. Guo Yujun, the Professor of East China University of Science and Technology, started his comment from the “isolation” to the “integration.” He said that “isolation” and “integration” have the common ground as Chinese character because both “” and “” have the character “.” Therefore, we should strive to find out how to open them up so that you truly achieve the goal of integrating employment.

 

 

 

Session Two centered on “Backdrop to EU & China Disability Law.” This session was hosted by Mr. Fu Zhijun, Director of Shanghai Zhijun Public Interest & Law Institute and the Ph.D Candidate of Law School of SUFE. Professor Gerald Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy of National University of Ireland, introduced the background and evolution of EU Disability Law. He discussed the differences between the European Commission and the European Union and explained the structure of EU legislation and various treaty mechanisms. He illustrated the laws and policies involving people with disabilities. He also discussed the impact of the EU’s approval to join UN CRPD on EU’s and its member countries’ laws and policies. 

 

Ms. Zhou Lulu, the Ph.D of Institute of Human Rights of Guangzhou University,  introduced the legal development and system for the employment of disabled people in China. She also discussed the current problems and the opportunities and challenges faced by the disabled in the “Internet Plus” environment. Maybe it provides a new platform for the employment of disabled people. Prof. Zhao Shukun, the Professor of the South West University of Political Science and Law, commented that there are two key points in the improvement of China’s involved system. The first is to jump out of domestic laws and to widely absorb international experience, such as the experience that the United Nations and the European Union have formed. Second, the law should be put into other social systems, for example, considering from broad social dimensions of democratic politics, civil society, and moral dimensions, etc.

 

 

Session Three focused on EU and China disability employment law and policy from theory to practice. Hosted by Prof. Zhang Wanhong, this session centered on the laws and policies of disability employment in EU and China with theory thinking and practice introduction. Mr. Hu Zhongming, the Ph.D of Research Office of China Disabled Persons’ Federation, gave a report on “China National Disability Development Plan Focusing on Disability Employment.” He made a three-dimensional introduction to the employment plan for disabled people in China from the three levels of large, medium and small. The “big plan” is to improve the policy of supporting the employment and entrepreneurship of persons with disabilities. The “medium plan” is about the basic public service, vocational training and employment services for people with disabilities. The “Small Plan” is led by the China Disabled Persons’ Federation and has very detailed provisions on rehabilitation, education, and accessibility, etc.

 

Prof. Anna Lawson, the Professor of the Disability Law Hub of University of Leeds, introduced the legal policy for the employment of persons with disabilities in the EU. The EU has much to do with the employment of persons with disabilities. The EU’s strategic goal is sustainable and inclusive growth in the employment rate. Mr. Christy Lynch, the member of Government of Ireland Taskforce on disability employment strategy, shared the Irish government’s disability-integrated employment strategy. The Irish government’s employment plan for disabled people started from the moment he was born. He not only has a job but also a career, which is not different from other people. This strategy is not a small one. It has an overall framework. Finally, Mr. Ni Zhen, the Researcher at the Centre for the Protection of Rights and Interests of Persons with Disabilities of Renmin University Law School, raised three aspects of deep thoughts which stimulated inspirations. 

 

 

Session Four, centered on “Stakeholder Perspectives: Government, Enterprises, Service-providers and Disabled Persons’ Organizations,” was hosted by Prof. Diao Zhenjiao, the Associate Professor of East China Universtity of Politics Science & Law. Mr. Christy Lynch, the member of Government of Ireland Taskforce on disability employment strategy, gave a detailed introduction to the rise of EU supported-employment and shared their successful experiences. Prof. Yang Lixiong, the Professor of Institute for the Development of the Persons with Disabilities of Renmin University, introduced his research on the system of employment security fund for persons with disability. According to his research, the reform of the employment security fund system for disabled persons in 2015 had a great impact on the corporations. The CDPF also participated in the discussion on the reform of the employment security fund system for disabled persons.

 

Mr. Shi Qing, the lawyer of Shanghai River Delta Law Firm, analyzed the allocation of power and responsibility of CDPF from the employment security fund system for disabled persons. He also compares the employment security fund with the union dues. The employment security fund for the disabled people is collected by the CDPF. However, the CDPF does not have an internal supervision agency, while the union has a special supervision agency. Mr. Zhou Guoliang, Director of Department of Policy Research of Shanghai Human Resource & Social Security Bureau, introduced many measures taken by Shanghai Government and thanked and supported the participation of social forces. He pointed out that Chinese Government attaches great importance to the issue of disabled people. The main way for disabled people to integrate into society is employment. In order to promote the employment of disabled persons, Government has issued many policy opinions. Shanghai has also issued “Special Project for the Employment of Disabled People” to promote the employment of disabled persons.

 

 

Ms. Cui Fengming, Director of the Disability Program of Law School of Harvard University, hosted Session Five, “Civil Commitment from Chinese Employers.” This session had both voices from employers and international advanced cases. Ms. Wang Lei, Chairman of “Me & You” Service-provider Organization, gave us a detailed introduction of employment rehabilitation assistance for persons with disabilities provided by “Me & You.” Mr. Liu Haijun, Chairman of Beijing Zhaoru Influence Management Consulting Ltd., analyzed the advantageous perspectives and sustainable and efficient employment of the disabled. 

 

Mr. Di Qing, Head of Operations of Inclusion Factory, expressed their own worries about recruiting persons with disabilities. Inclusion Factory would come to the scene to assess what companies are suitable for people with disabilities, and thus select suitable workers for different positions. Mr. Liu Kunkun, the staff of Disabled Staff Management Office of Human Resources Department of Novartis, talked about his experience as a business practitioner. Mr. Chen Ziming, the teacher of Shanghai Baoshan Vocational and Technical School, also talked about his experience as one of the disabled people.

 

 

Session Six is about “The Use and Value of Anti-Discrimination Law and Practice – as Applied to Employment & Disability.” Prof. Stephen Hallett, the Visiting Professor of Law School of Leeds University, was the moderator. And there are four speakers in this session, Prof. Anna Lawson, Director of Disability Law Hub of Leeds University, Ms. Huang Yi, the Ph.D Disability Law Hub of Leeds University, Prof. Qu Xiangfei, the Professor of Research Center on International Law of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Mr. Jin Xi, the lawyer of Beijing Yingke Law Firm. Prof. Lawson firstly discussed the reasonable accommodation of Article 5 “European Equal Employment Directive.” She pointed out that reasonable convenience is defined as the employer needs to take appropriate measures so that the disabled can enter the job market to participate in employment, promotion and related training, unless it will bring unnecessary burdens to employers, otherwise employers must fulfill their legal obligations. Mr. Huang pointed out that the law banned employment discrimination but did not clearly define what is meant by discrimination. He explained the problem of refusing to provide reasonable accommodation in China’s practices of employment of disabled people. If the employer does that in China, there is no source of rights for the victim because reasonable accommodation is not stipulated in Chinese Law. Prof. Qu compared the reasonable accommodation with accessibility from many aspects. If the State party ensures that the provision of reasonable accommodation is an immediate obligation, the duty to access is partly fulfilled immediately, and the other part is a gradual obligation. From the perspective of rights, reasonable accommodation is a subjective right, and accessibility is an objective obligation, because t requires an obligation for the subject of the obligation to do something. From the point of convenience, there are few expense for reasonable accommodation, while accessibility has large scales of expenses. Mr. Jin Xi reflected from the difficulties of implementing Disability Employment Law and thus pointed out current problems concerning the employment of persons with disabilities in China. That is to say, the employer has the rooted impression on disabled people that they are burdens, which affects the employed opportunities to enter open competitive market. Prof. Zhang Shengcui, the Professor at the Law School of SUFE, and Ms. Cao Yiyang, the Ph.D Candidate of Law School of Wuhan University are two commentator in this session. Prof. Zhang talked about the campus accessibility and China’s current educational situation and thus put forward her opinions on disabled people’s integration into society through employment. 

 

 

Session Seven “Reflection & Future” was hosted by Prof. Wu Wenfang, the Associate Professor and Assistant to Dean of Law School of SUFE. This session was carried out in the form of round table discussion. Representatives from both China and abroad discussed focusing on “Common Challenges and Future Cooperation." Prof. Zhang Wanhong, the Professor of Law School of Wuhan University held that the current challenge of China lies in concepts, systems, and actions. There are still a lot of concepts that need to be changed. For example, the words “disabled”, “placement”, and “normal person” are still visible in life. The system is based on rights, and employment and social integration are rights. Prof. Qu Xiangfei said that in terms of reasonable accommodation, women in Europe can do half a day’s work, which is flexible. But it is difficult for women to be equal with men. Especially women’s salary is low. Similarly, if disabled people require flexible working hours, they also need to face the challenges of promotion and salary increase. This is an area that needs pay great attention.

 

Prof. Wang Quanxing discussed the issue of employment protection for people with disabilities from the perspective of Labor Law. He believed that the Disability Law belongs to the special law. At the current stage of legislation, the Disability Law in China has a certain status, but its status is not enough. What’s more, within the Labor Law system, it is also necessary to systematically integrate various parts such as employment law, relations coordination law, and benchmark law, in order to realize the goal of integrating employment. Prof. Christy Lynch pointed out that Ireland has many successful attempts on the employment of people with disabilities. It is easy to write policies on paper, but it is difficult to implement it. The key to raising the awareness of employment issues lies in providing more job opportunities and allowing employers to be aware of that people with disabilities have a lot of talents and abilities to achieve their value in life.

 

Prof. Gerard Quinn believed that the EU’s experience of solving problems concerning people with disabilities is similar to that of China. In the past, this problem was dealt with through the social model of disability. It is now necessary to use the right model to solve this problem. Prof. Anna Lawson thought that students with disabilities in universities should be allowed to participate in normal teaching. In the place where professors work and live, the university’s support for students with disabilities is really complete. Therefore, more frequent exchanges between China and Europe can make this issue understood better. Mr. Zhang Ruixin, the staff of member of Shanghai Legislative Office, also shared his views. He believed that the employment of disabled persons as a social issue should be considered from their willingness of employment. It is the usual case that protection of persons with disabilities as special groups will eventually lead to protective discrimination. The government hopes to work with experts to promote the change from concept to system.

 

 

The Closing Ceremony was hosted by Prof. Hu Ling, the Vice Dean of Law School of SUFE. And Prof.  Stephen Hallett, the Visiting Professor of Law School of Leeds University, and Prof. Wang Quanxing, the Professor of Law School of SUFE, did reports representing Europe and China respectively. Prof.  Stephen Hallett believed that this conference has conducted fruitful discussions on various aspects of theory and practice, such as the legal system, employer responsibilities, and social mobilization and so on. He hoped that more international exchanges will occur in the future and this will arouse concern for the employment of people with disabilities. Prof. Wang Quanxing gave the speech from aspects of the background of the conference, the comparability between China and Europe, as well as the contents of comparison, comparison methods and future development. Finally, Prof. Song Xiaoyan, Acting Vice Dean of Law School of SUFE made a closing speech. She gave a brief introduction to the development situation of the SUFE Law School in the past few years and the main situation of the dominant subjects. And representing SUFE Law School, she expressed the sincere gratitude to the distinguished attendants from home and abroad and congratulated the success of the conference.

 

(Original News: http://law.shufe.edu.cn/show.aspx?info_lb=12&flag=12&info_id=3726)

Published:2018-03-11 Hit:20
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