Blind Italian woman saw “Yes” for Renzi’s government more clearly than others

by Stefania Leone - 2016.12.14
Blind Italian woman saw “Yes” for Renzi’s government more clearly than others
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While an embarrassing number of people jumped off of the (then) Prime Minister Renzi’s band wagon, I, a vision impaired, working woman, voted “Yes” for the national referendum and in support of the (now) ex-Prime Minister. The fact is that very few people were aware that he did a lot for individuals with disabilities. Here are just a few examples:

The law “dopo di noi” (when we are gone), was approved: an Italian law that (foreseeing the need to help families prepare for eventual passing of parents of dependent children) increased funding for the dependent family members.

The law 14 novembre 2016 n.220 that governs cinema and audiovisiual-related concerns officially enforced a new provision that the associations for disabled people have been asking for, for quite a while: requiring as pre-requisite for state funding and incentives, a respect for universal accessibility, with specific reference to the use of subtitles and audio-descriptions.

Retirement funds for disabled workers were addressed in a special amendment that will enable a new method of calculation (of benefits) that will not penalize economically those who need to leave the workforce earlier due to disability or inability to continue employment.

Five time increase in the penalty for businesses that do not comply with Italian Law 68, one which imposes a hiring quota of a certain number of individuals who are disabled or who come from other protected categories; this “news” was gathered just this morning, at a conference on training and integration in the workplace of individuals with disabilities. The daily fine for non-compliant businesses will go from 30 to 153 euro. In addition, for small businesses, the number of employees with disabilities that they must employ was lowered to 15 from 16.

Perhaps, businesses will not be too pleased with these last measures, but as a female worker with a visual impairment, who really takes these matters to heart, I consider them a strong incentive for employing individuals with disabilities. One that will encourage businesses to appreciate the fact that it makes more sense to value the presence of a person with a disability on staff (obviously a person who is productive), rather than pay a penalty for non-compliance, which in any event, is greater than the annual salary of the person in question.

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