Around 15 percent of all people worldwide have a disability. In Carinthia there are around 12,600 disabled people and 1,074 companies that are obliged to employ a disabled person due to their size. If they do not meet this requirement, they must pay a fine or a compensatory tax. Only 346 of these companies, i.e. around 32 percent, comply with their obligation. D This means that Carinthia is better than the Austrian average, which is only 22.4 percent. “But there is still room for improvement,” says economics officer Sebastian Schuschnig (ÖVP). A lot of potential is still unused.
One stumbling block is that many people imagine inclusion to be “incredibly complicated,” said state governor and labor market officer Gaby Schaunig (SPÖ) during the Zero Project corporate dialogue on trade, which autArK Sozialedienste-GmbH and the Essl Foundation took part in on Thursday in the state government’s hall of mirrors invited. But it’s like riding a bike or driving a car: “If you try it, it turns out that it’s not as difficult as you think.”
Positive examples in trade
This was also confirmed by Kurt Aschbacher, Rewe sales director for the Carinthia and East Tyrol region, who presented Billa and Billa plus as one of the positive trading examples as part of the company dialogue. He emphasized: “As one of the largest employers in Carinthia and East Tyrol, we take our social responsibility seriously.” The commitment is very well received by the majority of Carinthia’s 120,000 customers. There is only occasional criticism.
There is support for companies to ensure inclusion is successful. autArK managing director Andreas Jesse appealed to companies to take advantage of professional and monetary offers, because inclusion is not only a social but also an economic issue.
Both he and Karin Praniess-Kastner from Zero Project Austria emphasized that there is still a lot of homework to be done to enable people with disabilities in Austria to lead a self-determined life. In addition to employment, an important point is wages. A number of projects that ensure a salary for people with disabilities instead of their current pocket money are already being implemented. Schaunig emphasized that the government is also pushing the issue forward.