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RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The closest legislation that Egypt has to the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act is the law on Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons.176 The purpose of the legislation is to give people with disabilities access to training and employment, rather than to eliminate any discrimination against them.
The law considers the rehabilitation of disabled persons as providing such persons with the necessary social, psychological, medical, educational, and professional assistance to overcome weaknesses caused by their disability. It defines “disabled” as a person who, because of muscular, mental, or sensational weakness, is, since birth or has subsequently become, unable to assume or maintain a job by relying on his/her own ability to do so.177
The law authorizes the Minister of Social Affairs to establish the necessary schools and institutions, which would provide rehabilitation services to people with disabilities, and to require the recipients of social security who qualify for rehabilitation and work to enroll in these schools and institutions within 30 days, failing which would necessitate the denial of recalcitrant social security payments. The law also authorizes the Minister to establish, with the concurrence of the government departments concerned, a roster of vacant posts to be reserved for people with disabilities.178
The Minister must ensure that employment is provided for those who have been rehabilitated by recording their names in a special register at the local Employment Offices, which will in turn proceed to locate jobs suitable to their abilities and qualifications.179
In order to ensure that the right of people with disabilities to work is respected and to guarantee that they are not discriminated against, the Egyptian law requires that the number of disabled persons hired by owners of firms with 50 or more employees should constitute no less than five percent of their workforce.180 The law imposes a similar quota for disabled persons to be employed in government offices and other public sector institutions,181 and guarantees them the same rights and privileges available to the other employees in their areas of work.182
Failure to abide by these requirements of the law would subject the person in charge of hiring, whether in the private or the public sector, to a fine of 100 Egyptian Pounds and/or imprisonment up to one month. And in the event the employer fails to pay the appropriate salary or compensation at the appropriate time, in accordance with this law, people with disabilities may, at no cost to him/her, seek relief by an administrative sequestration order against the employer.183
The 1975 law No. 39 Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (“Act”) governs the rights of persons with disabilities. It is designed to assist people with disabilities to earn their livelihood through government-sponsored training, employment quotas, and job protection. The law seems in the nature of affirmative action. It does not provide individual rights against discrimination.
Scope of Coverage
The Act is limited in scope. It applies to all public employers and private employers with more than 50 employees. The provisions govern:
- Rehabilitation programs and assistance;
- Mandatory participation or loss of social security payments;
- Special vocational and other training;
- Five percent quota in public and private employment;
- Government-maintained roster of vacant suitable positions; and
- Enforcement and penalties for violation.
The main objective is to set a framework for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and their integration into the workforce. The Act defines “disabled” as a person unable to assume or maintain a job on her/his own ability due to muscular, mental, or sensational weakness, since birth or subsequently obtained. The definition is one of few relying on functional ability.
Public Policy Implementation
Minister of Social Affairs is responsible for:
- Establishing necessary educational and training institutions;
- Monitoring mandatory enrollment in rehabilitation programs;
- Maintaining roster of rehabilitated persons in the Employment Office; and
- Maintaining roster of suitable positions.
Enforcement and Remedies
Unjustified denial of employment carries a penalty of 100 Egyptian Pounds or imprisonment. In the event the disabled person is denied proper pay, he/she may seek an order for garnishment against the employer.
176 Law No. 39 of 1975.
177 Id. §2.
178 Id.§§6 and 11.
179 Id. §8.
180 Id. §9.
181 Id. §10.
182 Id. §14.
183 Id. §16.