Work for any person is an essential condition for a full life. This is not only a way to economically ensure its existence, but also an opportunity to realise its abilities, including creative ones. Labour activity is a factor for acquainting people with social values. The work allows each citizen to respect himself, to be aware of his individuality, to be a full-fledged part of modern society (Zhavoronkov, 2014). Today there is a particular stereotype in some societies that a disabled person cannot and does not want to work, that s/he lives in the care of close relatives and the state. However, it is important to remember that among people with disabilities there are people who want to work and be independent.
Throughout the history of civilisation, society faced the problem of disability, disabled peoples, and unemployment of disabled people. Steady changes in the health condition after illness and injuries and the resulting limitations in the life of an individual always arise and everywhere that, consequently, lead to the problem of getting work (Barnes, 2014, Burdyak et al. 2017). Therefore, no one country can avoid this phenomenon – in the past, the present and, probably, in the future. Therefore, at all stages of its development, the country must develop and implement a specific policy towards people with disabilities.
The scale and nature of disability changes over time – they are influenced by demographic, historical, social, economic and political factors. The aging of the population entails an increase in the risks of disability in the elderly age, participation in wars and military conflicts provokes an increase in the number of injuries, primarily at a young age, the growth of material production, as a rule, is accompanied by an increase in injuries etc. (Gibson, 2011). These factors succeed each other but often act simultaneously. The society has learned to prevent or compensate for certain types of disability. Following this, the concept and definition of disability are not canonical but vary at different historical stages. The same happens in the sphere of social policy regarding disabled people. In the early stages of its formation, it was about providing medical assistance to people with disabilities, the social protection and material support was added to this direction. In recent decades the international community has developed a common understanding that it is necessary to integrate people with disabilities into public life in its most diverse aspects including integration into working life (Burdyak et al., 2017).
The problem of employment and employment of people with disabilities in Kazakhstan is relevant and very important. Persons with disabilities experience some difficulties in finding a job because of different reasons, such as their limited abilities, lack of education, social attitude. Some employers very often can restrict their rights, and make certain types of work inaccessible because of the physical unacceptability of disabled people to their various kinds. All this creates additional tension in society, makes “unnecessary” a vast number of people. In this regard, disabled people need support from the state. To date, in labour, tax legislation, housing legislation, some norms refer to this category of people to socially vulnerable groups of the population, and in this connection the norms that have a unique nature. Exemption from payment of state duties and fees, reduced rates for payment of tax deductions, priority provision of housing, allocation of quotas for jobs – this is not a complete list of what Kazakhstan has offered its citizens in need of state custody (Zakon, 2014).
According to the records of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2017, p. 25), In Kazakhstan, there are 663,000 disabled people where 62% are working age, and only 12% of them have a job. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2017), there are approximately 450 million people in the world with mental and physical disabilities. This is 1/10 part of the inhabitants of the planet. Disabled citizens in each country are the subject of the country care. The primary concern of the state concerning the elderly and disabled people is their financial support (pensions, benefits, benefits, etc.). However, disabled citizens need not only material support. Professional rehabilitation also plays an important role. Social protection of disabled people in the Republic of Kazakhstan is regulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (1995, art.24, §2), the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Kazakhstan” (2015, art.1, §1) and other normative legal acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Article 31, 32 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Kazakhstan” (2015) provides for employment and employment standards, as well as state support to local executive bodies for training and vocational training for this category of persons. In fulfilment of the above standards, in all regions of Kazakhstan, the akims (mayors) passed a resolution on granting quotas for jobs in the amount of 3% of the total number of jobs. However, as practice shows, the employment of disabled people does not reach the required 3%. It is challenging to employ disabled people for quota jobs. One of the reasons for the refusal of employers to employ disabled people is the inability to use their labour at the vacancies available at enterprises due to their physical shortcomings, the lack of free workers. Increasing the employment of disabled people is necessary. Educated persons with disabilities should work where there are such opportunities, and if not – then create them. To do this, there is an appropriate regulatory framework and budgetary funds allocated annually by the state to improve the work of disabled people.
This dissertation will provide analytical work with the situation of disabled people in Kazakhstan on the labour market, namely, the problem of unemployment among disabled people. The research will determine how to solve the problem of disabled people in finding work.
The study used a qualitative research design to understand the reason for the high rate of unemployment among disabled people. Data collection involves literature review including documents, annual reports of Ministries of Social Protection and the World Health Organization, news and media sources, the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan and semi-structured interviews with disabled people who are in the process of searching the work in Kazakhstan which therefore provide an in-depth understanding the issue from the ‘first hands’. Thus, for this research, document analysis and semi-structured interviews were used.
This work is consists of six chapters. It first examines the theoretical framework for the concept of disability, the situation of disabled people in Kazakhstan and difficulties in finding work in the country. Using qualitative research methods, document analysis and semi-structured interviews, the dissertation will find the reasons for difficulties in getting the work for disabled people in Kazakhstan. This will be followed by the possible ways of the solution of the issue. Finally, the main points of the research will be summarised.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This chapter of literature review will investigate the current situation of disabled people on Kazakhstani arena. This chapter contains three sub-sections. The first part will discuss the concept of ‘disability’ and the models of disability. This section will investigate the meanings of two notions of “disability” and two models of disability: medical and social. Next section will examine the criteria for establishing disability group in Kazakhstan, the situation in the labour market of persons with disability, environment and access to infrastructure, legal opportunities for ensuring the rights of people with disabilities and difficulties in finding work in Kazakhstan for disabled people. The third section will look at structural factors. The fourth section will touch upon the social attitude toward disabled people.
2.2 The concept of “disability.”
Many works were devoted to the acute problem of unemployment of disabled people all over the world and the need for every country to help them to be involved into society (Laditka, 2016, MacLean, 2010). Before moving forward, it is necessary to identify the nature of the notion of “disability”. According to the World Health Organization (from here on WHO), disability “is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions; …a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action… it is not just a health problem., it is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives” (WHO, 2011). According to the World Disability Report (2011), more than 16% of the world’s inhabitants have different disabilities. Compared with 1970, when the previous assessment was carried out by the World Health Organization, the indicator was at the level of 11%. Looking at the World Health Survey (2002), there are statistics that almost 16% of people aged 15 and older have a disability, while the Global Burden of Disease (2008) indicates 20% of disability. The World Health Organization (2011) in its report cites statistics of the world health survey that more than 2% of the population has a pronounced difficulty with functioning and according to the report on the global burden of disease, about 4% of the population has a “severe disability” like blindness.
It is customary to allocate types of disability in the following categories (WHO, 2011, ANU, n.d., Disabled World, 2018):
• Disorders of motor functions;
• Disorders of the functions of organ systems (circulation, respiration, digestion, secretion, metabolism, internal secretion);
• Disorders of sensory organs (vision, hearing, smell, touch);
• Mental-psychic (violations of perception, attention, memory, thinking, speech, emotions, will).
Recognition of a person with a disability is legal, medical and social, because of his injuries and illnesses, his rights and duties towards society and the state are assumed. Disability is assigned with a steady deterioration in human health (a lousy disease, repeated prolonged illness, severe injuries or injuries), in which loss of self-service, self-movement and orientation, loss of speech and control of one’s behaviour occurs.
2.3 Medical and Social Models of Disability
There were a lot of studies and researches about disability have been done (World World Bank, 2009; World Health Survey, 2009) that have identified medical or health understanding and social understanding of disability. In this regards, WHO (2011) claims that “the transition from an individual, medical perspective to a structural, social perspective is the shift from a “medical model” to a “social model” in which people are viewed as being disabled by society rather than by their bodies”. In this regard, Eide et al. (2003) in their work argue that on the one hand, medical and social are separate notions, but on the other hand disability cannot be “purely” medical or social. For example, in most cases, disabled people have problems because of the health issues. WHO (2011) shares opinion of Eide & Loeb (2006) and Eide et al. (2003) saying that in this case a balance is needed and it is important correctly allocate “different aspects of disability”.
2.3.1 Medical Model of Disability
The medical model of disability is as a medical phenomenon (“sick person”, “a person with severe physical injuries”, “a person with insufficient intellectual development”). Proceeding from this model, disability is considered a disease, pathology. The medical model defines the methodology for working with people with disabilities, which is paternalistic in nature (that is, the restrictive and patronizing position of society) and involves treatment, occupational therapy, the creation of special services that help a person survive (for example, in the case of a child receiving education in residential care or forced long stay of a disabled person in a medical institution). Educations, participation in economic life, recreation are closed to people with disabilities. Specialized educational institutions, specialised enterprises and sanatoriums isolate people with disabilities from society and make them a minority whose rights are discriminated (Atvan, 2004). Thus, the medical approach to disabled people turns them into passive patients devoid of social significance, leading to the fact that disabled people do not have the right to choose and cannot influence their problems because of their “inferiority”.
The medical model of disability for many years was dominant in Kazakhstan, according to which, social policy regarding disabled people was segregating, discriminatory. The system of closed particular institutions that existed for a long time led to the separation of the disabled from normal and abnormal, and, as a consequence, to the isolation of the latter from society.
2.3.2 Social Model of Disability
The social centre of disability, which examines the problems of disability as a result of the attitude of society to their individual needs, has become the semantic centre of the new view. According to the social model, it is considered a social problem. At the same time, limited opportunities are not a “part of a person”, not his fault. Instead of paying more attention to the disability of people, adherents of the social model of disability focus on their degree of health (Yarskaya-Smirnova, 1997).
According to the Union Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) (1975; p.3), being socially disabled means when “…society disables physically impaired people. Disability is something imposed on top of… impairments, ….unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society. Disabled people are therefore an oppressed group in society”. The focus of this model is the relationship between an individual and his environment. In other words, limited opportunities as a problem are the result of social and economic oppression within society. Therefore people with disabilities can be more likely to be treated as an oppressed group than as an unusual or tragic group . In this regard, Shakespeare (2010; p,198) in his work says that social model has important dichotomies that are important to understanding. They are “the distinction between disability (social exclusion) and impairment (physical limitation) and the claim that disabled people are an oppressed group”. Thus, UPIAS (1975; p.14) again, claims that the disability is when physically impaired people’s opinion is not taken into account by organizations, and they do not participate in any social activities.
Thus, the phenomenon of “the social model of disability” was under the critique all over the world, especially in Britain. There were many debates concerning the importance, worth and suitability of this model (Williams, 1999; Morris, 1991). The social model treats disability as a social problem, and not as a property of a person. According to Shakespeare (2010), many scholars and academicians tried to advocate the given model, arguing that it was not applied correctly, was misunderstood or was not considered correctly as a social theory. Moreover, they claim that the conception evolved by UPIAS is still precise and actual.
Disability requires political intervention since the problem arises from the inappropriateness of the environment caused by the attitude and other properties of the social environment. The transition to a social model is conditioned by the humanisation of the world community as a whole. The importance of the social model is that it does not treat disabled people as people with whom something is wrong, but sees the causes of incapacity in an inappropriate architectural environment, imperfect laws (Koresteleva, n.d). The content of this model defines the following approach to solving problems of disability: equal rights for people with disabilities to participate in all aspects of society should be enshrined in legislation, implemented through the standardisation of regulations and rules in all spheres of human life and are provided with equal opportunities created by the social structure.
2.4 The situation of disabled people in Kazakhstan
2.4.1 Criteria for establishing disability group
Social protection of disabled people in the Republic of Kazakhstan is regulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (1995), the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Kazakhstan” (2015) and other normative legal acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Social policy to disabled people is aimed at enhancing the opportunities for their active participation in the life and development of society, improving their financial situation. In accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Kazakhstan”, a person who has a health disorder with persistent impairment of body functions, caused by illnesses, injuries (concussions), their consequences, defects, which leads to the limitation of life and the need for his social protection is considered as a disabled person (2015, art.1, §7). All disabled people are provided with social assistance in the forms provided by the law. Pensions for disability are appointed only in the event of disability, resulting in total or partial loss of ability to work.
The determination of disability and the degree of disability of a person is carried out through a medical and social examination by the territorial units of the authorised body in the field of social protection of the population (2015, art.13, §1). Medico-social examination is carried out on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of the state of the body on the basis of an analysis of clinical, functional, social, professional and psychological data of the person being examined in accordance with the procedure established by the authorized body in the field of social protection of the population (2015, art.13, §2). In the conduct of medical and social expertise refuses when providing documents with expired validity and (or) incomplete package of documents. As a result of the medical and social expertise, disability and (or) the degree of disability are not established in cases of absence of persistent violations of the body’s functions that lead to the restriction of one of the categories of life activity (ability to self-service, movement, work (work capacity), training, communication, control over their behavior, play and cognitive activity, motor activity) (2015, art.13, §2-2). When recognising a person as disabled and (or) determining the degree of disability, the reasons, terms, requirements for social protection measures are determined, and the social and professional parts of the individual rehabilitation program for the disabled person are developed (2015, art.13, §3). The disability group is established from the age of sixteen (2015, art.13, §4), until sixteen, a person is considered as disabled-child.
When deciding on disability, an individual rehabilitation program is drawn up, providing for continuity with previously implemented medical and social measures, the need for various types of rehabilitation, social services, material assistance is considered. To monitor the course of the pathological process dynamically, the degree of disability is systematically re-examined by persons with disabilities under the Regulations on Medical and Social Expert Commissions. With unstable, reversible morphological changes and violations of the functions of organs and systems of the body, the examination is carried out after 1 to 2 years.
In Kazakhstan depending on the severity of disability, the first, second, third disability group is established. If we look back to the archive, namely to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 531 (1992) “On the adoption of the basic criteria for the determination of disability and medical indications for the provision of technical and other means of transport”, there are criteria for determining disability are written:
1. The basis for establishing the first group of disability is a sharply defined limitation of life activity, caused by diseases, the consequences of injuries, birth defects, leading to severe social disadaptation due to the impossibility of training, communication, orientation, control over one’s behavior, movement, self-service, participation in labor activity, if these violations cause the need for constant foreign care or assistance. When providing means of compensating anatomical defects or disturbed functions of the body, creating special working conditions at work or home, it is possible to perform various types of labour.
2. The basis for establishing the second group of disabilities is a sharply defined limitation of life activity, caused by diseases, the consequences of injuries, congenital defects that do not require constant extraneous care or assistance, but lead to severe social disadaptation due to a pronounced difficulty in learning, communication, orientation, control of one’s own behavior, movement, self-care, participation in work or inability to work.
3. The basis for determining the third group of disabilities is the restriction of life activity, caused by diseases, the consequences of injuries, birth defects, leading to a significant reduction in the possibilities for social adaptation due to severe difficulties in learning, communication, movement, participation in labor activity (significant reduction in work, qualifications, significant difficulties in performing professional work due to anatomical defects).
This Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers changed and in the current edition of the Law (2015) we can see the following criteria for establishing the first group of disability – persistent significant or pronounced impairment of the body’s functions due to diseases, consequences of injuries or defects, leading to a sharply expressed restriction of one of the following categories of life activity or a combination of these:
• the self-service ability of the third degree;
• ability to work (work) capacity of the third degree;
• ability to learn the third degree;
• ability to move the third degree;
• ability to orient the third degree; ability to communicate the third degree;
• ability to control their behaviour of the third degree.
The criterion for establishing the second group of disability:
persistent pronounced impairment of the body’s functions due to diseases, consequences of injuries or defects, leading to a severe restriction of one of the following categories of life activity or a combination thereof:
• the self-service ability of the second degree;
• ability to move the second degree;
• ability to work (work capacity) of the second, third degrees; ability to learn the second, third degrees;
• the ability to orient the second degree;
• ability to communicate the second degree; The ability to control their behaviour of the second degree.
The criterion for establishing the third group of disability:
persistent moderately severe impairment of body functions due to diseases, consequences of injuries or defects, leading to a moderately severe restriction of one of the following categories of life activity or a combination thereof:
• the self-service ability of the first degree;
• ability to move the first degree;
• Ability to work (work capacity) of the first degree;
• Ability to learn first degree;
• Ability to orient the first degree; ability to communicate first degree; the ability to control their behaviour of the first degree.
2.4.2 Situation in the labour market of people with disability
The Law on social protection of disabled people in the Republic of Kazakhstan states (2015, art.31) “the local executive bodies ensure the employment of persons with disabilities by:
• establishing a quota of jobs for disabled people at a rate of three per cent of the total number of jobs;
• creation of additional jobs for disabled people through the development of individual entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized businesses;
• creation in particular, as well as social workplaces for the employment of disabled people;
• the organisation of vocational training for disabled people.
If we look at the statistics given by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2017, p. 25), nowadays in Kazakhstan there are no more than 50.000 of people or only 12% out of 62 disabled people of working age are employed. This shows that the problem with employment of disabled people is quite acute. On the official website of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Labour of the Republic of Kazakhstan gives the following numbers. In 2013 about five thousand people requested help to find a job for them. More than 50% of them were employed (primeminister.kz, 2013). Despite this fact, today the situation did not change drastically. According to his information, a useful measure to promote employment of disabled people is the “Employment Program – 2020”. Today in Kazakhstan there are thirty-three educational blind and deaf societies where four thousands of disabled people work. For comparison, in the United States of America, there are almost one hundred such societies, it is almost four times higher employed disabled people (NYISE, 2018).
While in Kazakhstan there are only 12% of working disabled people, in developed foreign countries the percentage of disabled workers is significantly higher. For example, in the United States of America – 29%, the United Kingdom – 40%, China – 80% (Belkova, 2012, p.4). One of the main ways to promote employment for disabled people is quotas, which can be defined as the requirement for all employers to employ for a minimum number of jobs, as a percentage of the average number of employees of the organization, citizens who are particularly in need of social protection and problems in finding work. To ensure the employment of disabled people, local executive bodies, akimats (city councils), set a quota of jobs for disabled people in the amount of 3% of the number of workplaces without taking into account jobs in heavy work, work with harmful, hazardous working conditions in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on employment of the population; create additional jobs for disabled people through the development of individual entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized businesses; create unique, as well as social workplaces for the employment of disabled persons in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan; organize vocational training for disabled people (Law on social protection of disabled people in the Republic of Kazakhstan, 20015, art.31, §1, 2, 3, 4).
However, as practice shows, the employment of disabled people does not reach the required 3%. It is challenging to employ disabled people for quota jobs. One of the reasons for the refusal of employers to employ disabled people is the inability to use their labour at the vacancies available at enterprises due to their physical shortcomings, the lack of free workers. Increasing the employment of disabled people is necessary. Educated persons with disabilities should work where there are such opportunities, and if not – then create them. To do this, there is an appropriate regulatory framework and budgetary funds allocated annually by the state to improve the work of disabled people (Zakon, 2014).
The legislation guarantees the rights of persons with disabilities to labour relations. It is provided that refusal to conclude an employment contract or promotion, dismissal on the initiative of the employer, transfer of a disabled person to another job without his consent on grounds of disability are not allowed, except for cases when, according to the conclusion of the territorial unit of the authorized body in the field of social protection of the population his health impedes the performance of professional duties or threatens the health and safety of others (Labor Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2015, art.6, §2).
For persons with disabilities of the first and second groups, an abbreviated working time of no more than thirty-six hours per week is established, an additional paid annual leave of absence of at least six calendar days is granted. Work at night is allowed with the consent of the disabled person and provided that such work not is prohibited for him for health reasons. Refusal to conclude an employment contract or promotion, dismissal on the initiative of the employer, transfer of a disabled person to another job without his consent on grounds of disability is not allowed, except when the state of his health prevents the conclusion of the territorial unit of the authorized body in the field of social protection the performance of professional duties or threatens the health and safety of others.
2.4.3 Environment and access to infrastructure
Even though Kazakhstan’s independence has been more than 26 years, there are still problems with housing in the country. People with disabilities refer to the Ombudsman of the National Center for Human Rights, most often raise the following issues: housing, labor rights of people with disabilities, education, social benefits, and compensation for harm caused to health at work, disagreement with the change, removal of the disability group, provision of sanatoriums treatment, individual assistant services (inform.kz, 2017). The vice-president of the United Association of Realtors of Kazakhstan does not share the opinion of the Ombudsman, arguing that “the government made a big step to satisfy the population with square meters” and the population increasingly “started investing in real estate” (Forbes, 2017). However, even the availability of housing does not mean its convenience. Small flats, not the provision of housing with basic amenities such as heating and/or hot water supply are just a few points that can be pointed out, and these problems are mainly related to rural housing (Burdyak, 2017). If there is a disabled person in the family, the requirements for housing increase at times: housing must be easily accessible and free for movement (Frain, 1996, Hussein et al., 2014). As already mentioned, the question of the convenience of housing in rural areas is particularly acute. All housing is a legacy of the Soviet era, the old model (Burdyak, 2017). Although the country has introduced a new program “Nurly Zher” (Light Land), which provides for participation in new construction projects, construction of new houses in the villages is not underway. All the “conveniences” like wide corridors, entrance groups, ramps and handrails can be found only in modern housing, which is available only in large cities such as Astana or Almaty. The vice-president of the United Association of Realtors of Kazakhstan does not share the above opinion, arguing that this program is more active in regional centres than in Astana and Almaty (Forbes, 2017). Even despite the construction in large cities, some unscrupulous construction companies and organisations cannot take into account elementary need, as ramps. Moreover, multi-flats houses (mainly three, four and five-floors houses) that exist in medium-sized cities were built during the early industrialisation and have no elevators, presenting an insurmountable obstacle to the mobility of the elderly and disabled, since the housing stock in them old enough (Zakon, 2017).
According to the public association of disabled people with higher education “Namys” (Honor), more than 50% of disabled people and pensioners who live in such houses suffer from the absence or poor operation of the elevator making incredibly difficult to move or are generally restricted in access to the street. It should be noted that not all disabled people are not very mobile, but a significant part of them. Descending and climbing stairs is difficult not only for those whose limitations are directly related to the musculoskeletal apparatus but also for a wide group of people with cardiovascular diseases and many others (Burdyak, 2017). Besides, according to the organisation of disabled people “Shabyt” (Inspiration), a large group of citizens do not have an officially established group of disabilities, but they have severe limitations in essential spheres of life, including movement. Especially many of these are expected among people of the most advanced age. Most residents with poor housing are in no hurry to change their homes, even though they have lived there for more than twenty years. Among the reasons for such low housing mobility, first of all, lack of finance, fear of change, attachment to the place, or fear of the procedure of buying or exchanging housing.
Among the problem of infrastructure problems, that not only disabled people but able ones face are the situation of traffic and traffic safety (Kashimova, 2011). This year, in the world rating Kazakhstan ranked 115 out of 137 on the quality of roads (WEF, 2018). Both in big and small cities of Kazakhstan, it is scarce to meet people in a wheelchair. This is because the roads are not equipped with a smooth descent on the curbs and a deplorable condition of roads on which it is difficult to spin wheels on wheelchairs, and many disabled people cannot afford electric wheelchairs. To the problem of road conditions and traffic safety, the remoteness of pharmacies, the inaccessibility of state and municipal medical services, the remoteness of places for recreation and leisure, for physical education and sports are other infrastructure problems for the disabled in rural areas. Despite the criticality of the problem of the convenience of housing for the disabled, the lack of ramps, wide doors and a working elevator, the adaptation of housing and urban/rural environment among the main problems of disabled people is not articulated. Direct examination of the kind of assistance or assistance from the state in the expectations of people with limited health showed that the question of the size of pensions and cash payments for drugs dominates them (Burdyak, 2017). Besides, people with disabilities and the elderly suffer from the inadequacy of their home and the infrastructure of the village, face problems of employment, low incomes, and a shortage of medical, rehabilitation and psychological assistance.
2.4.4 Difficulties in finding work for disabled people
22.214.171.124 Structural factors
Persons with disabilities in Kazakhstan experience difficulties with employment. Print publications, news portals, research papers, interviews – all unanimously reiterated the difficulties (Mukankyzy, 2013, Issa, 2015; Zakon, 2017). Persons with disabilities who want to get a job face even the most common obstacles. One of them is the stairs. For people moving in wheelchairs, there are no ramps. For visually impaired or blind people there are no special tracks, special computer programs. In accordance with the Law on Social Protection (2015), employers should ensure that at least three percent of their employees are disabled. Unfortunately, the requirements of the law are not met anywhere. Entrepreneurs think that they will face many problems if they hire a person with a disability. They believe that such people often get sick, they have low qualifications, and they are not be able to perform their work qualitatively. This is a psychological barrier for the disabled (Mukankyzy, 2013).
In this respect, the World Health Organisation in its World Report on Disability (2011) specifies four challenges for disabled people to enter the labour market. Among them are:
- lack of access;
- misconception about disability;
- discrimination, and
- overprotection in labour laws.
The WHO (2011) explains the ‘lack of access’ that such institutional factors as education, environmental barriers and funding are holding disabled people back in getting employment. For example, in Kazakhstan, there are some inclusive schools but in real life they do not work and disabled people do not attend them. The reason is that the staff is not trained enough, there is no infrastructure and study places are not performed properly (Mukankyzy, 2013). In addition, in the time of “the increasingly important field of information technology” disabled people experience difficulties to obtain knowledge and skills and, as the result, to be employed. While in developed countries, such as the United States of America, any disabled student can study with healthy peers in the same school and in the same class. They can get the same knowledge as the other students and accepted as the most valuable member of the school (McLeskey, Rosenberg, & Westling, 2009; Hossain, 2012). That is the reason why the people in Kazakhstan are less competitive in getting work than the healthy ones.
Another structural factor that makes getting employment difficult is environmental obstacles. As it was noted above, disabled people meet such common physical obstacles as absence of access to the buildings and, thus, to work, to the interviews or even costs to go work and back home (Roberts & Babinard, 2004). As well as “access to information” for blind people or people with visual impairments is also considered as physical barrier (WHO, 2011; Butler et al., 2002).
Funding is another institutional factor that is holding back the disabled people from employment (WHO, 2011). According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2017, p. 25), there are 62% of disabled people of working age and only 12% are employed and the rest of them are willing to run a business. Most of banks refuse to give a loan because of disability as wrongly consider them as potentially risky group for loans (Martinelli & Mersland, 2010). In Kazakhstan there is the National Development Institute and fund “Damu” and slthough it tries to pay attention to every applied disabled person who want to become businessmen it is impossible to provide loans for everyone. The dreams of beginning entrepreneurs can be realized in two ways: through sponsors and through a grant from the state. The sponsors cannot afford to give too much money to charity, and there are not so many rich people in Kazakhstan. And getting a grant from the state is a long thorny path through the offices of officials (Informburo, 2017).
The second challenge for disabled people to enter the labour market is misconception about disability. According to Shier et al. (2009), if people, especially employers, have a misconception about people with disabilities, this affects their ability to find a job or advance in their careers. The reason for this is a misconception about their performance and productivity (Gartrell, 2010). In this regard, the World Bank report (2009) states that a misconception about working capacity can arise not only among employers, but also among relatives, and this is even worse. Schneider (2006) states that due to the fact that relatives have an incorrect understanding of disability, they can limit disabled people in access to social networks or friends who could help find work.
The third challenge for disabled people to enter the labour market is discrimination. It happens when employers refuse in employment disabled people because of their impairments. According to the Oxford Dictionary Online, this phenomenon is called “ableism” that means “discrimination in favour of able-bodied people”. Many employers in Kazakhstan prefer healthy people, wrongly believing that disabled people cannot cope with work and do not want to take responsibility in the case. In this case, World Health Organisation (2011) says that people who suffer the most is those with mental health problem, especially people with schizophrenia.
The last challenge is overprotection in labour laws. According to the World Health Organization Report on disability (2011), employers in some countries in Eastern Europe, as in Kazakhstan, also prefer able-bodies employees. In these countries the Labor Code is more loyal to people with disabilities, facilitating working conditions, shorter hours or longer holidays, referring to the disability of people (Kuddo, 2009). In turn, this weakens the position of disabled people to employers, as the employer needs a productive worker who can do more work.
2.5 Social attitude
Today, the attitude of society towards disabled people in Kazakhstan is different. The state allocates benefits, pensions, various payments and organizes rehabilitation measures but still people with disabilities are treated differently. A number of leading Western countries have developed a broad social approach to disabled people and disability which provides for the perception of disabled people as equal members of society, but having special needs that society must satisfy. The social approach presupposes full integration of disabled people into society and in all its spheres at all levels; disabled people there are not just a category in need of special conditions, but absolutely equal members of society, no different from others, capable of full self-realization.
However, this approach is not yet characteristic of Kazakhstan. Persons with disabilities, being a weak, socially vulnerable group of the population, need social protection, maintenance, provision of the state and attention of surrounding people. In Kazakhstan, there is an isolation approach with a strong paternalistic orientation, where people with disabilities are in need of special conditions, assistance, social security, but more often local measures are applied to them within the framework of certain specialized institutions – rehabilitation centers, houses for people with disabilities, social institutions protection and maintenance. Integration into various spheres of society for disabled people in Kazakhstan is essentially closed. People who have physical or mental defects can often be excluded from the full life of society due to the weakness of social, economic, urban and other infrastructure, although the movement towards a social approach in Kazakhstan is also noticeable.
In Kazakhstan, disabled people and disability are considered as the “medical model”. Disabled people in the country are socially inactive. Today it is difficult to go outside for them, even from the second floor. Not all apartments have ramps and lifts. It is necessary to have a shift in public consciousness and psychology in the perception of the disabled, not as “special”, “other”, vulnerable and disadvantaged, but as equals, “like everyone else”, but in need of full development and implementation in special conditions that are obliged to ensure society. Therefore, one of the important social problems is the study of the attitude of society towards the disabled, primarily the attitude towards the disabled in Kazakhstan and its change.
At the moment, young people have no clear position on disability: a significant proportion of both supporters of integration and isolation approaches at the same time. Currently the working population prefers to integrate the disabled person into the normal life of society, and also continue to protect their rights and change attitudes towards the disabled. But the opinions of elderly people do not foresee changes in relation to the disabled: in most cases, pensioners are themselves disabled, who understand disability as a limitation of opportunity, inability, as a violation and inaction – their assessments are the result of reflecting their vulnerable and limited position. But in relation to the disabled people and disability of the younger generation, it can be assumed that attitudes towards the disabled will change, but clearly not soon.
Thus, it is seen that in Kazakhstan there three groups of disability and they are considered as the medical model. Nowadays in Kazakhstan there are no more than 50.000 of people or only 12% out of 62 disabled people of working age are employed. Disabled people in the country are socially inactive.