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Disabled Workers Deserve a Fair Deal

MEDIA RELEASE
31 March 2005

Disabled Workers Deserve a Fair Deal

People with disabilities should no longer be denied the same employment rights as other workers, Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont said today.

A petition has been tabled in Parliament opposing the Disabled Persons Employment Promotion (DPEP) Act Repeal Bill.

The DPEP Act gave sheltered workshops a total exemption from paying workers the minimum wage, annual leave or sick leave.

“Regardless of their abilities or the jobs they perform, these workers do not have the same rights as anyone employed outside a sheltered workshop,” Carol Beaumont said.

“The current law disadvantages workers with disabilities, it diminishes their human rights and it reflects attitudes towards disabilities which are unacceptable.”

Some opponents to the repeal were scaremongering to score political points, she said. The proposed change had come after four years’ consultation with disabled people, their families and employers.

“Sheltered workshops will not be forced to close, but people with
disabilities will have more options for meaningful employment and be treated as valuable members of society who deserve the employment protection already enjoyed by other workers.”

ENDS

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