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Portugal

A. UN Convention status

A1. Ratification or conclusion of the UN Convention

The President of the Portuguese Republic ratified the UNCRPD on the 15 July 2009 through Decree 71/2009 published in the official journal on 30 July 2009. The ratification followed approval by the Portuguese Parliament, through Resolution 56/2009 of 7 May, also published in the official journal on 30 July 2009. The ratification deed was deposited by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 23 September 2009 and therefore, in accordance with Art. 45(2), the Convention entered into force in Portugal on the 23 October 2009.

Links

Update date: Tue, 2017-05-09

A2. Ratification or accession to the Optional Protocol

The President of the Portuguese Republic ratified the Optional Protocol on 15 July 2009 through Decree 72/2009 published in the official journal on 30 July 2009. The ratification followed approval by the Portuguese Parliament, through Resolution 57/2009 of 7 May, also published in the official journal on 30 July 2009. The ratification deed was deposited by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 23 September 2009 and therefore, in accordance with Art. 13(2), the Optional Protocol entered into force in Portugal on the 23 October 2009.

Links

Update date: Tue, 2016-03-15

A3. Declarations, Reservations and Objections

Portugal has not presented any declarations, reservations or objections in relation to the UNCRPD and Optional Protocol.

Update date: Thu, 2012-12-06

A4. Comprehensive review

No comprehensive review of existing legislation has been conducted by the Portuguese government in preparation to the implementation of the Convention.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2012-12-06

A5. Focal point

According to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 68/2014 of 21 November (Art. 1), the Government appointed the Directorate General of Foreign Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Direção-Geral de Política Externa do Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros (MNE)) and the Office of Strategy and Planning of the Ministry of Solidarity, Employment and Social Security (Gabinete de Estratégia e Planeamento do Ministério da Solidariedade, Emprego e Segurança Social (MSESS)) as contact points for matters related to the implementation of the Convention.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

A6. Coordination mechanism

According to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 68/2014 of 21 November, the Government appointed the National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) as the national coordination mechanism within the Government (MSESS) to promote necessary actions for the implementation of the UNCRPD. Annually, after the anti-discrimination law (Law 46/2006) came into force, the INR, I.P. elaborates a report that analyses the complaints based on this law (the latest is of 2015). The complaint procedure is also available online on the INR's website.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

A7. Independent mechanism

The Resolution of the Council of Ministers 68/2014 of 21 November defined the National Mechanism for Monitoring the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Portugal (Me-CRPD) as composed of ten members, including representatives of public entities and of civil society organisations from all areas of disability and academic experts in the field:

  1. a representative from the Parliament (Assembleia da República);
  2. the Ombudsman (Provedor de Justiça);
  3. a representative from the National Human Rights Committee (Comissão Nacional para os Direitos Humanos);
  4. a representative from the National Disability Committee (Comissão Nacional para a Deficiência);
  5. five representatives from disability organisations (representing the areas of physical, intellectual, sensorial (both deafness and blindness) and organic impairments; and # a recognised expert from the academia.

In December 2016 the Mechanism held its first meeting to elect the Chair, and it has met regularly since.
On 16 January 2018, The Assembly of the Republic and the Me-CRPD organised the conference “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: the answers from Portugal” (Conferência sobre a Convenção dos Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência: As Respostas de Portugal). The aim of this conference, in addition to the debate on the implementation of the CRPD (ratified by Portugal in 2009), was to publicly present the Me-CRPD's activities report for 2017.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

A8. Official reporting

Portugal presented the first report on the implementation of the CRPD on 8 August 2012 (due in October 2011). A Working Group of the National Human Rights Committee prepared the Portuguese Initial report for the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Committee held a consultation meeting with civil society on 29 February 2012, which included the participation of Organisations of Persons with Disability. Comments and inputs from civil society were gathered at that meeting. The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has released the List of Issues prepared on 17 August 2015 in Geneva during the XIV Session of the CRPD Committee that the Portuguese State had to respond to in writing. The 'Constructive Dialogue' between the Portuguese State and the CRPD Committee took place on 29 and 30 March 2016 during the XV Session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (from 29 March to 21 April 2016). The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities released the ‘Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of Portugal’ related to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Portugal.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

A9. Shadow reporting

The Disability and Human Rights Observatory (ODDH) and the disabled people’s organisations that constitute its Advisory Board, representing altogether 182 Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), submitted the Parallel Report on the Monitoring of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June 2015 to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A Response to the List of Issues was also submitted by the Observatory to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in January 2016.

Links

Update date: Tue, 2017-05-09

B. General legal framework

B1. Anti-discrimination legislation

The right to non-discrimination is established for all citizens in the 1976 Constitution (and subsequent revisions including the most recent one in 2005). Although Article 13 of the Constitution does not specifically mention disability as a ground for discrimination, the list of grounds presented is not meant to be exhaustive and therefore the clause is usually interpreted as also including disability. Prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability has been more recently re-enacted in two key legal documents: the 2004 Disability Act (Law 38/2004 of 18 August) and the 2006 Anti-discrimination Law (Law 46/2006 of 28 August). Both pieces of legislation prohibit direct and indirect forms of disability-based discrimination and put forward the principle of affirmative action or positive discrimination, as a way to compensate for structural inequalities facing persons with disabilities. The Anti-discrimination law defines what constitutes discriminatory practices (Art. 4). These include, among others, the denial or imposition of limitations in the provision of goods and services, including in access to credit and insurance, to the built environment, to sign language, to education, healthcare and information technologies. However, the specific rights and particular vulnerabilities of disabled women and children with disabilities are not mentioned in any of these laws, nor is it anywhere recognised that they might be subject to multiple discrimination. Hence, no specific measures are envisioned for them.

Links

Update date: Tue, 2016-06-07

B2. Recognition of legal capacity

Legal capacity is defined in the Portuguese law as the ability to enter a legal relationship (Civil Code, Art. 67). The majority of Portuguese citizens acquire legal capacity when they reach 18 years old (Civil Code, Art. 130). The Civil Code, however, defines two ways in which legal capacity can be limited or suppressed; they are the regimes of inabilitation (inabilitação) and interdiction (interdição). The regime of interdiction implies a severe containment to the exercise of rights. Regardless of their age, persons who are subjected to this regime remain in the status of minors, for instance, they cannot exercise the right to vote, and if interdiction is ascribed on the basis of a ’mental anomaly’ they are prevented from exercising paternity and testifying in court, and although they can marry, the marriage can be declared null. According to the law, persons with ’mental anomalies, deaf-muteness and blindness, who show inability to govern their lives‘ can be assigned the status of interdiction (Art 138(1)). The Court assigns the status of interdiction on the basis of a legal request (by a parent, the spouse, a child, the curator or the public attorney), a medical assessment of the individual, and statements of family members, friends, neighbours and others close to the person. Once the status of interdiction is assigned, a Tutor is designated. The Tutor is usually a family member (e.g. parent, spouse, eldest child) but if a family member is lacking, a professional (e.g. the director of a service provider organisation) may also be designated as a Tutor. A Pro-Tutor is further designated to supervise the Tutor. The Tutor should act as a ’good parent’ and provide for the well-being, health and education of the person who is under his/her guard. Tutors are obliged to request permission from the Court in order to perform certain acts (e.g. buy and sell property, accept inheritances, submit claims). The regime of inabilitation, in turn, implies the suppression of the right to manage one's own property. It is also assigned by a Court, on the basis of a legal request and a medical assessment. Persons whose 'mental anomalies, deaf-muteness and blindness are not so severe to justify their interdiction', as well as persons who systematically incur in ’unjustified and ruinous expenses’ or are addicted to alcohol or drugs may be assigned the status of inabilitation (Art. 152). A Curator is designated to assist the person in all acts related to property, or even to act on his/her behalf. In this latter case, a Family Council (composed of family members, neighbours, friends and others) is set in place, and a representative is nominated to supervise the acts of the Curator.

In 2017, the Council of Ministers introduced the draft law 110/XIII to the Parliament to modify the Civil Code and to replace the regimes of inabilitation and interdiction with the new “regime of adult support” (regime do maior acompanhado). This draft law proposes a model of support that does not entirely substitutes the person’s will. The National Mechanism for Monitoring the Implementation of the UN CRPD in Portugal (Me-CRPD) issued a number of recommendations to improve the draft law. In this document, the Me-CRPD criticised the draft law proposal for not following the recommendations of the UN Committee to Portugal, and for its ambiguity in what the concerns that will be available for supported decision-making. On 09 March 2018, the proposal of the draft law was approved in general by the Parliament but specific details are still under discussion.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

B3. Accessibility of voting and elections

According to the Portuguese Constitution (article 49(1)), all citizens of 18 years old and over who are properly registered are entitled to vote in Portugal, except persons who have certain impairments. Indeed, Article 2 of the Electoral Law (Law 14/79 of 16 May) specifies that citizens who have been assigned the status of interdiction, or persons with intellectual impairments under the regime of full or partial guardianship and those who are institutionalised in psychiatric institutions are unable to exercise voting rights (Law 14/79 of 16 May, Decree-law 319-A/76 of 3 May and Organic Law 1/2001 of 14 August). The law further states that the act of voting is always 'direct and secret'. Article 97, however, entitles ’persons with visible physical disabilities or illnesses‘ to bring an assistant of their own choice to the voting booth, in order to assist them or vote for them. Citizens, whose disabilities or illnesses are not visible, and yet require assistance to vote, need to present an official medical note to justify their need (Art 97). The new draft law 110/XIII introduced in 2017 and preliminary adopted by the Parliament in March 2018 is going to propose some alterations in current legislation, and suggests that a person who is under the “regime of adult support” (regime do maior acompanhado) will have a right to vote.

So far, the Electoral Law does not foresee alternative ways for persons with disabilities to cast their vote (e.g. through electronic voting or ballot papers in Braille). Although the existing system allows blind people to vote, it compromises their right to a free and secret vote. Hence, by not allowing alternative ways of expressing the vote (e.g. electronic vote), the Portuguese Electoral Law discriminates against persons with disabilities, and prevents them from exercising with autonomy the right to vote. In the recent years, the National Elections Committee (CNE) jointly with the National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) and disabled people’s organisations have issued several information leaflets and guidelines about accessible elections. The CNE on its website also explains different voting options that are available for persons with disabilities. Nevertheless, conditions of physical accessibility are not always insured, which prevents some people with physical impairments from exercising the right to vote, and there is no system to vote in Braille yet.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

B4. Official recognition of sign language

Sign language is recognised in the Portuguese legislation in several ways. Article 74.h of the Constitution states that, in pursuing an education policy, the State must ’protect and value the Portuguese sign language, as an expression of culture and an instrument for access to education and equality of opportunities.' Sign language is also mentioned in the Anti-discrimination Law (Law 46/2006 of 28 August). According to Article 4(d) of this Law, the denial of access to or dissemination of sign language is considered a ’discriminatory practice.' Article 43 of the 2004 Disability Act (Law 38/2004 of 18 August) requires the State and other private and public stakeholders to provide information in accessible formats to persons with disabilities, including information in sign language. In the context of education, schools can hire specialised professionals, including sign language interpreters and teachers. Law 27/2007, of 30 July (amended by Law 8/2011, of 11 April), which regulates television operators, states in Article 34 that it is up to the media regulatory body to define a multi-annual plan for gradual implementation of the rules that enable access for persons with special needs to broadcast TV, ’notably through the use of captioning, sign language interpretation, audio-description and other adequate techniques.‘ The Multi-Year Obligation Plan (from 1 February 2014 to 31 January 2017), approved on 2 January 2014 by The Portuguese Media Regulatory Authority (ERC), established the obligations on the three most important TV channels in this area (the public service broadcaster RTP and two private channels SIC and TVI), including the hours of broadcasting with subtitling, sign language interpretation, audio description and other appropriate techniques, as well as the provision of easily understandable menu navigation systems. According to the publication of FCT “Vulnerable People & ICT in Portugal” (2013), over the last four years, there was a significant increase of hours of the broadcast programmes with closed caption and with Portuguese Sign Language. In another context, the use of sign language interpreters is also allowed during the training and the practical examination to obtain a driving permit. Most recently, through the adoption of Decree-Law 126/2017 of 4 October 2017 the government has updated the Braille System in Portugal.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

B5. National disability strategy and action plan

The First National Disability Strategy (Estratégia Nacional para a Deficiência – ENDEF I) was implemented during 2011-2013 following the first Action Plan on the Integration of Persons with Impairments and Disabilities 2006-09. The ENDEF I was adopted after the country signed the CRPD and therefore, it embodied the Portuguese State’s commitment to 'promote, protect and ensure a life with dignity for persons with disabilities'. The ENDEF I had five specific objectives:

  1. 'Disability and Multi-discrimination';
  2. 'Justice and exercise of rights';
  3. 'Autonomy and quality of life';
  4. 'Accessibility and design for all';
  5. 'Administrative modernization and information systems.'

It included 133 measures in total. The National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) was assigned the responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the ENDEF I. The INR published the Final Report of ENDEF I in October 2014 where it stated that the percentage of implementation of the planned measures had been the following: 73.68% in 2011, 68.75% in 2012 and 77.55% in 2013. This Report concluded that during 2011-2013 the level of implementation reached only 76% with 103 measures implemented. In the report, the INR acknowledged that the implementation of the ENDEF I was hampered by the financial crisis and the austerity measures that the government had to put in place during that period.
Through the Ministerial Order 15432/2012 of 4 December, the Government established the ENDEF II Commission tasked with the development of a proposal for the National Disability Strategy 2014-2020 (ENDEF II). The ENDEF II Commission was coordinated by the National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) and included representatives from the various Ministries and disability organisations. However, so far, the ENDEF II has not been adopted and therefore the country lacks a national coherent disability policy.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

C. Accessibility

C1. Transport accessibility

Denying and limiting access to public transportation is expressly prohibited by the Portuguese Anti-discrimination Law (Law 46/2006 of 28 August 2006). Decree-Law 58/2004 of 19 March 2004, defines the accessibility standards for newly acquired public buses (transposition of the European Parliament and Council Directive 2001/85/EC). New trains must ensure the accessibility standards defined in the COST 335 norms (COST 335 - Passengers' accessibility of heavy rail systems, final report, November 1999). In addition, Decree-Law 252/98 of 11 August provides for the licensing of accessible taxis. The Accessibility Law (Decree-Law 163/2006 of 8 August 2006) further requires that railway stations, subway stations, bus central stations and bus stops, ferry piers, airports, petrol stations and service areas in motorways are made accessible to disabled persons. Deadlines for the implementation of the accessibility standards varied according to the construction year of the facilities (ranging from 5 to 10 years). After the deadlines, non-compliance with the accessibility standards can be sanctioned as follows: individual person from EUR 250 to EUR 3,740.98 and collective persons from EUR 500 to EUR 44,891.81. In case of further non-compliance, the fine adds to the maximum amount mentioned above an additional amount that ranges from EUR 1,870.49 to EUR 22,445.91.
In 2017, as the accessibility obligations were not yet in place, a new Decree-Law was issued (Decree-Law 125/2017 of 10 April 2017). The new decree-law assigned the National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) the responsibility for awareness-raising and monitoring the implementation of accessibility standards and foresees the implementation of a Commission in charge of assessing accessibility in public buildings at national level.

Further to the law, a National Plan for the Promotion of Accessibility (PNPA) 2007/2015 (Resolution of the Ministers Council 9/2007) established a set of actions to remove disabling transport barriers to be implemented in two phases: 2007- 2010 and 2011-2015: facilitating the allocation of parking cards for disabled people; promoting accessibility in all underground stations; promoting accessibility at railway stations, including accessibility in circulation areas, at service counters, ticket vending machines and installing adapted toilet facilities for use by persons with disabilities; and progressively replacing the fleet of buses, with special priority for those operating in urban areas. The second phase of the plan (2011-2015), however, never started.

Law 72/2013 of 3 September 2013 amends the Road Code (Codigo da Estrada), particularly with regards to persons with disabilities. It introduces a legal definition of 'vulnerable users' which includes persons with reduced mobility or disabled people, as well as children, elderly, pregnant women, pedestrians and bicycles, for whom specific rules are established along the Code aimed to guarantee their safety; the Code further defines the 'zone of co-existence' as the area of road specially designed and marked for shared use by pedestrians and vehicles. These areas must take into account the needs of 'vulnerable users', with particularly respect for the principles of inclusive design. The Code also includes new rules about the transportation of disabled children, taking into account their specific safety needs.

In addition, Portugal has introduced the Strategic Plan of Transportation - Sustainable Mobility (Plano Estratégico dos Transportes - Mobilidade Sustentável (PET)) by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 45/2011 of 10 November 2011 that presents a vast programme of reforms to be implemented during 2011-2015, covering public transport companies, road infrastructure, maritime and air transportation. The Strategic Plan of Transportation and Infrastructure 2014-2020 (PETI3+) (Plano Estratégico dos Transportes e Infraestruturas) is an update of PET 2011 - 2015 that implies the second phase of structural reforms to be undertaken to increase accessibility, as well as a set of investments into transport infrastructures to be completed by the end of this decade.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

C2. Built environment accessibility

The Anti-discrimination Law (Law 46/2006 of 28 August 2006) requires that public buildings and public-use facilities are made accessible to disabled persons. The Accessibility Law (Decree-Law 163/2006, of 8 August) defines the accessibility standards for public buildings, spaces, and facilities, and contains general norms and principles that should be applied to residential buildings (either social housing or private sector housing). These standards apply both to old and new buildings. The deadlines for the implementation of the accessibility standards varied, ranging from five to 10 years. After these deadlines, non-compliance with the accessibility standards will be sanctioned as follows: individual person from EUR 250 to EUR 3,740.98, and collective persons from EUR 500 to EUR 44,891.81. However, the implementation of the accessibility standards is not required when:

  • the elimination of architectural barriers is disproportionately difficult;
  • it requires economic and financial means that are disproportionate or not available;
  • the implementation of accessibility standards would affect significantly the cultural and historical heritage. The legislation on urban regeneration (Decree-Law 53/2014 of 8 April 2014) also provides a temporary exemption from compliance with accessibility standards. Accordingly, all regeneration works carried out in old buildings (more than 30 years old) are not required to meet accessibility standards, provided that the building is intended for housing.

From 2007 to 2015, the National Plan for the Promotion of Accessibility (PNPA) was introduced by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 9/2007 that identified three main goals: 1) to raise awareness; 2) to provide information; and 3) to provide training on accessibility issues, and established a set of measures to remove barriers to accessibility in transportation and the built environment, in workplaces, housing and ICT. The National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) evaluated the implementation of the first phase of the PNPA measures (2007-2010), however the report of the second phase (2011-2015) was not made available. The INR, I.P. also coordinates such programmes as RAMPA (Accessibility Support Regime for Municipalities); Accessible Beach for All; Alert School Project; The Accessibility Guide 'Accessibility and Mobility for All.' The RAMPA programme includes measures to support accessibility assessment, awareness-raising and training activities, as well as the development of accessibility plans for public spaces.

Decree-law 125/2017 of 4 October 2017 has introduced amendments to Decree-Law 163/2006 and assigned the National Institute for Rehabilitation the responsibility for awareness-raising and monitoring the implementation of accessibility standards; and foreseen the implementation of a Commission in charge of assessing accessibility in public buildings at national level.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

C3. ICT and Web accessibility

ICT and website accessibility are required by the Action Plan for Information Society adopted through Resolution of the Council of Ministers 107/2003 of 12 August 2003 and are promoted in the National Programme for the Participation of Citizens with Special Needs in the Information Society (approved by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 110/2003 of 12 August). Some of the proposed measures included the promotion of accessibility on public television channels and training on Internet usage for persons with disabilities. In this context, the programme Digital Inclusion was created through Ordinance 1354/2004 of 25 October 2004, and funds were made available to support projects aiming to train and improve access to ICT by persons with disabilities and older persons.

In 2009, the Portuguese government created a web accessibility monitoring system: UMIC (Unidade de Missão Inovação e Conhecimento). The UMIC-Agency implemented the ACCESS Programme, which among other things, translated into Portuguese and made available on the internet the WCAG 2.0 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the W3C World Wide Web Consortium, and has created a certification system to assess web accessibility. In addition, the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 155/2007 of 27 September approved the Guidelines for the Accessibility of Government and Central Administration Websites. Since 01 March 2012, The Foundation for Science and Technology in Portugal (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia – FCT, I.P.) has been assigned responsible for coordinating public policies related with the Information and Knowledge Society in Portugal. The FCT has undertaken responsibility over the operation of the UMIC Agency and ACCESS Programme and created the Portuguese Observatory of Web Accessibility (Observatório Português da Acessibilidade Web). Portugal has not signed the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

D. Independent living

D1. Choice of living arrangements

According to the Portuguese Constitution Article 65, 'all citizens have the right to adequate housing that preserves personal intimacy and family privacy'. The Disability Act (Law 38/2004 of 18 August) Article 32 calls attention to the need on the part of the state to take the necessary measures to ensure the right to housing for persons with disabilities, namely in terms of eliminating barriers and promoting universal design in housing building and renovation.

The recent amendment of Order 28/2006 of 3 May introduced by Ordinance 59/2015 of 2 March 2015 has provided changes in the definition of ‘residential homes’ and 'group homes’ (lar residencial e residência autónoma) and the conditions of establishment and operation of these residential services for persons with disabilities. Therefore, these residences can accept, temporarily or permanently, persons with disability who cannot live with their family and who provided with necessary assistance can live independently. Persons with disabilities younger than 16 years of age or older can an also be temporarily placed in residential homes but only in emergency cases and if other measures were not successful (Article 6).

Regarding persons with severe mental health conditions, according to the Mental Health Law (Law 36/98 of 24 July), the Court can determine compulsory institutionalisation when a person with a serious psychiatric disorder endangers other people or property, refuses to receive appropriate treatment, or if the absence of treatment significantly deteriorates the person's health. However, the new draft law 110/XIII that was approved by the Parliament in March 2018 proposes to introduce several changes to the Mental Health Law (Articles 5.º, 13.º and 46.º), among which that compulsory institutionalization can only happen under a court order.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

D2. De-institutionalisation

The majority of disabled people in Portugal live with their families as there is a societal expectation that families will provide for the well-being of their members. Life in the community has nevertheless been partly encouraged by the State through some housing policies. Persons with disabilities with an incapacity level equal to or over 60% can have access to a special house credit. Also disabled people with low income can benefit from government support for house renting. Furthermore, young disabled people between 18-30 years old regardless their income can apply for Door 65-Youth Programme which supports their living in urban rented housing. Following international recommendations, the National Plan of Mental Health 2007-2016 established the objectives of deinstitutionalisation and gradual closing of psychiatric hospitals. The Decree-Law 8/2010 of 28 January 2010 (amended by Decree-Law 22/2011 of 10 February 2011), foresees the creation of new types of services providing community care for persons with psychosocial disabilities, including: residential units (unidades residenciais), socio-occupational units (unidades sócio-ocupacionais) and home care support teams (equipas de cuidados domiciliários de apoio). However, these services were not immediately put in place, and only in 2015 through Ordinance 59/2015 of 2 March the first residential services to persons with psychosocial disabilities were set up: notably residential homes (lar residencial) and autonomous residences (residência autónoma). These services are mostly provided by private entities or private non-profit organisations in which cases persons with disabilities or their families have to pay a fee according to their family income. The new 'Priority Health Programme on Mental Health', issued through Dispatches 6401/2016 and 7433/2016, also emphasises, among other goals, the development of the Integrated Continuing Mental Health Care Network, supporting the creation of 1,500 places for adults and 500 for children in community care services.

In 2015 the Lisbon Municipality launched The Independent Living Pilot Programme to promote independent living for persons with disabilities. The programme involves five participants with mobility disabilities who benefit from personal assistance schemes and social housing. This project has an investment of EUR 152 thousand and will last until the end of 2018. After a long period of preparation and public discussion that started in February 2017, Decree-law 129/2017 was adopted on 9 October 2017 establishing the Independent Living Support Model (MAVI). MAVI provides personal assistance for people with disabilities to help them carry out daily activities they cannot do by themselves. Personal assistance is will be available through the CAVIs, Centres to Support Independent Living (Centros de Apoio à Vida Independente, CAVI). The scheme will operate as a pilot project for two years with the support of the European Structural Funds.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

D3. Quality of social services

As part of the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Security funding programmes for disability service providers, the Ministry sets up some rules and obligations (regarding, for example, personnel, number and quality, physical spaces, etc.) and monitors their implementation. In addition, many organisations are voluntarily undertaking quality control processes through international systems such as EQUASS or the ISO 9001:1200 norms. These organisations can apply for funds from the European Social Fund and the national QREN/POPH programme to initiate the certification process under EQUASS. The Portuguese Association of Quality (Associação Portuguesa para a Qualidade - APQ) is the independent inspection and certification body in Portugal for this system. The organisations that show conformity with the nine principles of EQUASS quality (leadership, rights, ethics, partnerships, participation, orientation towards the client, scope, orientation towards results, and continuous improvement) are certified for a period of two years in either level I ( EQUASS Assurance), Level II, (EQUASS Excellence ) or Level III ( EQUASS Award).
Decree-Law 106/2013 of 30 July 2013 regulates the establishment of disabled people’s organisations and support provided to them by the government, and Order 7/2014 of 13 January defines the norms for their registration. In addition, the Ombudsman provides since April 2013 a free Help and Information Telephone Line for Disabled Citizens, which aims to answer questions and to solve problems presented by, not only persons with disabilities, but all those who are related to or look for information on disability issues.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

D4. Provision of assistive devices at home

The Disability Act (Law 38/2004 of 18 August 2004) Article 31 states that 'it is up to the State to provide, adapt, maintain and renew the appropriate means of compensation to ensure greater autonomy and adequate integration of persons with disabilities'. The National System for the Ascription of Assistive Devices (SAPA), established by Decree-Law 93/2009 of 16 April and Decree-Law 42/2011 of 23 March, gives expression to this norm. The intention of SAPA is to compensate for and reduce the limitations resulting from impairments and their impact on the daily life of persons with disabilities. It is a public and universal system and covers the areas of health, vocational training and employment and independent living. Only disabled people with an incapacity level equal to or over 60% are eligible to receive assistive devices. Nevertheless, an assistive device is provided only after the evaluation of the socio-economic conditions of the applicant and of the importance of the device to the applicant’s life. In this case, a medical prescription is required, issued by a Health Centre, Hospital or specialised rehabilitation centre designated by the Institute for Social Security (ISS, I.P.). Priority is given according to the applicants’ health conditions and the importance of the device for the applicants’ autonomy and daily life activities. Assistive devices prescribed by a health or a rehabilitation centre are funded by the Institute for Social Security and the Ministry of Health. Funding is provided by the Institute of Vocational Training and Employment (IEFP, I.P.) for accessing vocational training or for accessing, maintaining or progressing in a job, including access to transportation. Education-related assistive devices are provided by the Ministry of Education to students with disabilities attending compulsory education. No similar system, however, exists for students with disabilities attending university. The process of obtaining assistive devices is extremely lengthy and excessively bureaucratic. Persons with disabilities are also entitled to reduced taxes when purchasing an adapted car (as regulated by Law 22-A/2007, of 29 June 29). Ordinance 78/2015 of 17 March 2015 approves the prescription form (modelo de ficha de prescrição) of assistive devices for SAPA, and Order 7225/2015 of 1 July 2015 updates the distribution of financing procedures that must be followed for the attribution of assistive devices. Order 7197/2016 of June 1 2016 approves the list of support products (Annex I), with reference to ISO 9999, and identifies the multidisciplinary technical team, according to the product of support to be prescribed.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

D5. Availability of personal assistance schemes

The Lisbon Municipality Independent Living Pilot project is the first one in the country that aims to promote independent living for persons with disabilities. The project was launched in 2015 funded by the Lisbon city hall, and involves five participants who benefit from personal assistance and social housing schemes until the end of 2018.

On 9 October 2017, the national scheme for personal assistance (The Independent Living Support Model - MAVI) was approved by Decree-law 129/2017. The following types of assistance can be provided: personal everyday activities; health and personal care; citizenship participation; mediation of communication; work context; vocational training; higher education and research; culture, leisure and sport. The assistance will be provided according to the needs of each person with disability, up to a maximum of 40 hours per week (with only a few exceptions per centre). The Centres of Assistance to Independent Living (CAVI) are responsible for elaboration of an Individualised Assistance Plan (Plano Individualizado de Assistência Pessoal - PIAP) together with the person with disability who can also participate in the selection process. and not by a family member. A person with disability can participate in the selection process. Only disabled people who are 16 years or older and with an incapacity level equal to or over 60% (certified by a medical certificate, the Multiple Purposes Medical Attestation - MPMA) are eligible, or persons who have an intellectual disability, mental illness or autistic spectrum disorder, regardless of the degree of disability.

In addition, to assist a child with disability or chronic illness, a parent can take a leave from work for a period that lasts from six months up to four years maximum and apply for a Subsidy to Assist a Child with Disability or Chronic Illness. In this case, the child has to have a medical condition and a need for assistance certified by a doctor and the beneficiary (parent) has to live together with the child. The amount of the benefit equals 65% of the monthly salary of the parent, but it cannot exceed two IAS amounts per month – or EUR 857.80 (or Social Support Index (IAS): EUR 428.90 in 2018).

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

D6. Income maintenance

Introduced by Decree-Law 126-A/2017 of 6 October 2017, the new Social Benefit for inclusion (Prestação Social para a Inclusão - PSI) replaced the former Disability Allowance (Subsídio Mensal Vitalício), a Social Invalidity Pension (Pensão Social de Invalidez), and an Invalidity Pension (Pensão de Invalidez) for agricultural workers. The new benefit will be implemented gradually from 2017 to 2019 and encompasses three components (the Basic component, the Complement and the Additional component) and targets people with disabilities of all ages. The Basic component (up to EUR 260 per month) started to being provided in the last quarter of 2017 to all people with more severe disabilities (incapacity level equal to or above 80%) aged 18-55 years old, regardless their income, and to disabled persons with incapacity levels between 60% and 80%, on a means-tested basis. For both groups the component allows the accumulation with income from professional activity or from other sources, with no limits in the case of the more severely disabled but with a cap for others (the cap being higher for income generated through a professional activity than through other sources – e.g. other social benefits). The other components - the Complement and the Additional component - will be introduced throughout 2018-2019. Persons with disabilities who already receive a Disability Supplement to Family Allowance, an Allowance for Assistance by Third Person and/or Social Old Age Pension cannot accumulate these benefits with the new Social Benefit for inclusion. In addition, the Invalidity Pension (Pensão de Invalidez) is paid to persons for not work-related illnesses or disabilities (with either relative or absolute invalidity). Once the beneficiary reaches 65 years old, the Invalidity Pension is converted into an Old Age Pension (Pensão de Velhice). The Special Invalidity Pension Regime (Regime de proteção especial na invalidez), introduced by Decree-law 246/2015 of 20 October 2015 and amended through Law 6/2016 of 17 March 2016, is available to people with incurable chronic diseases with permanent and 'negative impact on work performance.'

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

D7. Additional costs

The Allowance for Assistance by Third-Person (EUR 108.68 per month from 22 January 2018) aims to support a family member with a disability or a person with a disability who cannot alone perform basic everyday activities and needs permanent assistance by a third person for at least six or more hours per day. Additionally, the Dependency Supplement (Complemento por dependência) is available to those who receive an invalidity, retirement or survival pension and are in a situation of dependency, which amount varies between EUR 93.15 and EUR 186.31 per month from 18 January 2018 according to the degree of dependence of the applicant and the pension type that he/she already receives. Families who have disabled children (up to 24 years old) who attend private Special Education schools (who are just 1% of all children with disabilities nowadays) are entitled to a Special Education Subsidy (Subsídio de educação especial) according to the Regulatory Decree 3/2016 of 23 August 2016. The subsidy may cover the monthly fee or the individual technical support fee. However, families also pay a contribution, which varies depending on the number of children with disability per family.

Tax benefits and social security benefits are other support benefits available for disabled persons and their families. According to the Portuguese law, only a degree of permanent disability equal to or over 60% proven by a medical incapacity certificate is relevant for tax purposes. There are tax benefits for disabled persons in the following taxes: Personal Income Tax, Vehicle Tax, Value Added Tax and Road Tax. People who have a degree of permanent disability equal to or over 60% or who have disabled dependents or disabled ascending relatives can deduct from their personal income tax: EUR 1,900 for a disabled child; EUR 1,187.50 for a parent or grandparent; 30% of all registered expenses with education and rehabilitation of the taxpayer and/or disabled dependents; 25% of all life insurance premiums and contributions to mutual associations that exclusively cover death, disability or retirement risks; 30% of the expenses on vocational training. An amount of EUR 1,900 is also deductible to the taxable income for caring expenses of taxpayers or dependents with a permanent disability degree equal to or over 90% (severe disablement allowance). If the taxpayer has been injured or disabled while serving the Armed Forces, his/her tax deduction rises up to EUR 2,375. Finally, 25% of the expenditure on retirement homes can be deducted to the taxable income with an overall limit of EUR 403.75. This deduction includes expenditures on home care, nursing homes and elderly support institutions for the taxpayers as well as the costs of residential care for persons with disabilities, their dependents, ascendants and collateral relatives up to the third degree who do not have incomes above the minimum wage.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

D8. Retirement income

Starting from October 2017, the Social Benefit for Inclusion (Prestação Social para a Inclusão - PSI) introduced by Decree-Law 126-A/2017 of 6 October 2017 replaced the Disability Allowance (Subsídio Mensal Vitalício), the Social Invalidity Pension (Pensão Social de Invalidez) and the Invalidity Pension of the agriculture workers. The PSI is paid to people with disabilities aged 18-55 years old, regardless their income, with incapacity levels between 60% and 80%. In addition, under the general regime, the Old Age Pension is paid to persons of 66 years and four months in 2018 who have worked and made contributions for social security throughout their career. If an old disabled person (of 66 years and 4 months) is not covered by any compulsory social protection scheme and has a monthly income equal or less than EUR 171.56 for a single person or EUR 257.34 for a married person, he/she can apply for the Social Old Age Pension (Pensão Social de Velhice). In addition, the beneficiaries of the Social Old Age Pension may get the Extraordinary Complement of Solidarity for Old People, which is EUR 36.02 per month for those aged 70 and over and EUR 18.02 below the age of 70. Pensioners also receive holiday contributions in July (subsídio de férias) and December (subsídio de Natal) each year. Old people who receive an Old Age Pension and/or Social Benefit for Inclusion with low income may also receive the Solidarity Complement for Old People (Complemento Solidário para Idosos - CSI) that is a monthly payment with a maximum amount of EUR 431.32 per month depending on a person’s annual income. Additionally, the beneficiaries of the CSI receive benefits for health and are entitled to a social tariff on electricity and gas. Disabled people who served in the military fall under a Special Retirement Regime (Decree-Law 43/76 of 20 January). Decree-Law 248/98 of 11 August entitles to special (more favourable) retirement conditions as well as to special (more favourable) taxation rules for disabled military veterans.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

E. Education

E1. Special schools

Since the adoption of Decree-Law 3/2008 of 7 January 2008, amended by Law 21/2008 of 12 May, special education schools were closed, and the large majority of disabled children and young people were mainstreamed into regular schools. In 2018, following a public discussion, the Portuguese government issued a new legislation on inclusive education (Decree-law 54/2018 of 6 July 2018). This new decree-law, that will come into effect in the school year 2018/19, aims to strengthen the path towards inclusive education and, among other things, while recognising the right of disabled children and their parents to chose the school they want to attend, give priority in enrolment to disabled children over all other children in any public school. However, at the same time, this legislation still foresees the existence of the so-called reference schools for bilingual education (Sign language and Oral language) and for teaching the area of visual impairment. Disabled children and their parents can decide whether or not to attend a reference school, but if they want the child to learn Sign language or Braille, they will be obliged to attend a reference school, since these are the only schools that provide this kind of resources. This is particularly problematic in rural areas where there are not so many reference schools and children may have to travel long distances to attend a reference school.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

E2. Mainstream schools

The Portuguese State created in 2008 by Decree-Law 3/2008 of 7 January, amended by Law 21/2008 of 12 May and Decree-law 54/2018 of 6 July, an inclusive education system. The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in its Concluding Observations on the initial report of Portugal considers these laws among the positive aspects of the Portuguese legal reforms. The aim of inclusive education is to create a safe and stimulating environment where all children can learn. All public and publicly-funded private schools by the Ministry of Education are subject to the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of disability and therefore cannot deny registration of disabled children and young people (and are required to provide education according to their needs and learning styles).

According to the Decree-law 54/2018 of 6 July 2018, all children are deemed able to learn and all are entitled to benefit from the same educational contexts. For that to be possible, flexibility in the pedagogical measures to be adopted, individualised supports in accordance to each pupil’s needs, potential and preferences, parental involvement and student’s self determination are the new guiding principles of this inclusive education policy. Schools have to state in their key policy documents the strategies they intend to put in place to create an inclusive environment and have to show their commitment to a cultural, organisational and operational transformation towards inclusion as well as monitor its implementation. The amendment introduced in 2018 abandons the former terminology of ‘special education needs’’ and establishes a continuum of service provision to promote inclusive education. This continuum encompasses ‘universal measures’ (aimed at all students), ‘selective measures’ (such as small accommodations in content or assessment modalities) and ‘additional measures’ which involve more substantial accommodations (e.g. partial completion of annual credits or courses). Students who will require significant accommodations will have an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) which will state the skills that the student must achieve as well as the measures to support the learning process and the adaptations that will be put in place as well as the strategies to implement to ensure the transition between levels of education (from basic to secondary and then tertiary, when applicable). Students with an IEP will also have an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) developed for them three years before completing compulsory education (which is of 12 years since 2009, as per Law 85/2009 of 27 August), aimed at promoting their transition to life after-school years and, whenever possible, to the labour market. In general, schools must use their own resources to put in place all three types of measures and only under exceptional conditions, duly justified, they may require additional support from the Ministry of Education. Schools may also establish partnerships with private non-profit organisations and specialised resource centres in order to get specialised supports (CRIs), as well as with other entities form their community.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

E3. Sign language and Braille in school

Decree-Law 3/2008 of 7 January established the so-called 'reference schools' for deaf and/or blind or low vision students. These reference schools are public mainstream schools, which concentrate human and technical resources for the students to learn Braille or Sign Language from preschool to the end of compulsory education. Whether or not is located in their neighbourhood, deaf and/or blind or low vision students attend the closest reference school.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2016-03-16

E4. Vocational training

The National Employment and Vocational Training Institute (Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional, IEFP, I.P.) is responsible for the qualification and integration of persons with disabilities into the labour market, as well as for the implementation of active measures to enhance their employability. The IEFP funds these programmes through ESF funds and the services are mostly delivered by a network of private non-profit vocational training centres. The IEFP in cooperation with these centres offers two main training schemes for persons with disabilities:

  1. regular training available to all people, in which persons with disabilities can also participate (although this happens in very few cases);
  2. training programmes targeted specifically to persons with disabilities.

The Employment and Support to the Qualification of Persons with Disabilities Programme (Programa de Emprego e Apoio à Qualificação das Pessoas com Deficiência e Incapacidade) was introduced by Decree-Law 290/2009 of 12 October, and amended through Law 23/2011 of 16 June 2011, Decree-Law 131/2013 of 11 September 2013, Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June 2015, and Ordinance 8376-B/2015 of 30 July 2015 (as amended by Ordinance 9251/2016 of 20 July 2016). Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June in Chapter II, Articles 6-8 regulates the acquisition and development of vocational skills of persons with disabilities either through initial training or continuing training programmes. The initial training programme is preceded by a general assessment of the future trainees’ needs and qualifications and may last from 2,900 to 3,600 hours depending on the level of an impairment of the trainee. The continuing training programme lasts 400 hours and is intended for those persons with disabilities (either employed or unemployed) who have already participated in an initial training and want to raise their professional qualifications (or are required to do so by their employer), and for persons with acquired disabilities. In addition, the Youth Guarantee Programme (PNI-GJ ou Garantia Jovem) introduced through the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 104/2013 of 19 December (Plano Nacional de Implementação de Uma Garantia para a Juventude), has put forward a number of measures that simultaneously develop the qualifications and promote the employability of young people, especially those who are neither in employment nor in education (NEETs), as well as young people at risk of social exclusion and/or from marginalised communities (including youth with disabilities). The Youth Guarantee Initiative is coordinated by the IEFP and covers a range of education and vocational training programmes, internships and employment support programmes. Ordinance 131/2017 of 07 April 2017 replaced former legislation that regulated the Reactivate Programme and Estágios Emprego (according to Ordinance 149-B-2014 of 24 July 2014 and Ordinance 86/2015 of 20 March 2015) and targeted all age groups, including young persons with disabilities (of 18 years and older), who are explicitly mentioned as beneficiaries of vocational training measures (Articles 3, 11 and 14). In addition, for young persons with disabilities with incapacity level of 60% or above there is a 5% quota to undertake internships in public administration, as regulated by Ordinance 259/2014 of 15 December (PEPAC Programme) and Decree-Law 29/2001 of 3 February.

The overall prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of disability is regulated by the following legislation: The Framework Law on Prevention and Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (Law 38/2004 of 18 August); and the Anti-discrimination Law (Law 46/2006 of 26 August). These laws, and particularly the anti-discrimination law, prohibit direct and indirect forms of discrimination based on disability, beyond school age and therefore apply to vocational training programmes too. Decree-Law 13/2015 of 26 January recognised the general principle of non-discrimination in access to vocational rehabilitation and employment of vulnerable populations. Furthermore, Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June in Article 61 (Section VI) states that ‘employers cannot exercise any discriminatory actions in relation to workers with disabilities in supported employment’.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

E5. Higher education

Other than the Anti-Discrimination Act (Law 46/2006 of 28 August), which prohibits discrimination in all areas of social life, including education, Portuguese Universities are not subject to any legislation imposing duties in relation to students with disabilities. Nevertheless the legislation that regulates the national application process to higher education establishes a quota (of 2%) for students with physical and sensorial disabilities (Ordinance 197-B/2015). In order to benefit from this quota, disabled students must fulfil all the requirements of a regular applicant. In addition, they are required to fill out a special form and submit detailed medical evidence about their impairments to prove their disability. Reports discussing the students’ educational process, as well as the type and degree of success of the adjustments and adaptations that have been developed in previous school years are also required. A decision on whether the student is entitled to benefit from the quota is made on the basis of a paper analysis complemented, if deemed necessary, with interviews conducted by an evaluation committee (appointed by the Minister, on a joint proposal of the Directors of the Departments of Secondary and Higher Education). However, recent data have shown that the majority of students with disabilities enter higher education without using the quota. Whether or not a student with disabilities enrolls in university through the special quota, the support he/she will be provided with will depend on what is available in each institution. The Law on Higher Education Funding (Law 37/2003 of 22 August) in its paragraph 4, Article 20 states, nevertheless, that universities should consider 'providing specific supports for students with disabilities'. Accordingly, some universities develop guidelines for faculty and staff, set up Disabled Student Support Offices and provide accessible materials and equipment. In contrast, other universities have no support available to disabled students. Recently, a draft resolution (358/XIII/1ª) has been submitted to the Parliament that proposes to introduce new legislation to regulate the provision of individual support to students with disabilities in tertiary education. The government has also created a Working Group with several civil society participants to gather ideas and recommendations regarding support to students with disabilities in higher education and research. The State Budget for 2017, approved by Law 42/2016, of December 28 (Article 161), introduced a scholarship paid to new students since the academic year of 2017/2018 with an incapacity level equal to or over 60%, to cover the students’ university fee.

Links

Update date: Tue, 2017-05-09

F. Employment

F1. Non-discrimination in employment

The principle of non-discrimination in occupation and employment for people with disabilities is mostly promoted and enforced in Portugal through the Labour Code. The Labour Code, approved by Law 7/2009 of 12 February (including all the subsequent amendments), provides to any employee or job candidate the right not to be directly or indirectly discriminated against, based on several personal characteristics, including disability, reduced working capacity or chronic disease (Article 24(1) 'Direito à igualdade no acesso a emprego e no trabalho'). This right applies to: a) recruitment, selection and hiring processes; b) access to vocational guidance, training and retraining; c) payment and other reward systems as well as career development or dismissal; and d) participation in collective bargaining structures. Employers are also required to post in the workplace, a list with the rights and duties related to equality and non-discrimination. Article 85 of the Labour Code ('Princípios gerais quanto ao emprego de trabalhador com deficiência ou doença crónicas') is dedicated to 'workers with disabilities or chronic diseases', and states that these workers have the same rights and duties as other ’regular’ workers, and affirms the duty of the State to stimulate and support employers in their hiring and professional rehabilitation. Employers shall take all adequate measures to guarantee that these workers have access to a job and are able to advance in a career, unless the costs involved are considered disproportionate (Article 86(1) 'Medidas de acção positiva em favor de trabalhador com deficiência ou doença crónica'). However, considering that the State must support the employer within this process (Article 86(2)), the situation of disproportionate costs is not considered a plausible excuse whenever there is State aid available (Article 86(3)). In the subsection related to 'workers with reduced working capacity' the law states that employers must enable working conditions to these workers, namely by providing workplace adjustments, and promoting adequate vocational training and professional development (Article 84(1)). These accommodation measures must be supported by the State (Article 84(2)).

The Anti-discrimination Law (Law 46/2006 of 28 August) dedicates Article 5 to prevent discrimination in the workplace, restricting the principle of 'reasonable accommodation' to situations occurring in this realm. Under this Law, individual persons or disability organisations on their behalf, may submit complaints reporting situations of discrimination. However, the burden of proof remains with the plaintiff, who needs to substantiate his/her complaint. In addition to this legislation, Decree-Law 29/2001 of 3 February, that establishes a mandatory quota for public service external admissions (5% of places should be reserved for persons with disabilities when the application process involves ten or more places) requires that the preference should be given to the candidate with disabilities before an equal ranking situation when application involves one or two places. More broadly, Law 38/2004 (Disability Act) in Article 6 states the general principles of ‘non-discrimination’, according to which ‘a person with a disability cannot be discriminated against and must benefit from participation in all positive action measures that contribute to reducing inequality in social life’.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

F2. Public employment services

Through Decree-Law 290/2009 of 12 October (including its subsequent amendments: Law 24/2011, of June 16; Decree-Law 131/2013, of September 11, and Decree-Law 108/2015, of 17 June) the Portuguese Government created the Programme for Employment and Support of the Qualification of Persons with Disabilities (Programa de Emprego e Apoio à Qualificação das Pessoas com Deficiência e Incapacidade). The Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP, I.P.) implements this Programme in cooperation with Vocational Training Centres that are private non-profit entities with expertise on working with people with disabilities and are accredited by the IEFP as support structures. The accredited Centres obtain funding from the IEFP to support the integration of persons with disabilities of all ages into the labour market. These Centres offer the following support services:

  1. Support for integration, reintegration and maintenance in the labour market (Apoios à integração, manutenção e reintegração no mercado de trabalho):
    • information, assessment and guidance to qualification and employment (Infomação, avaliação e orientação para qualificação);
    • support for integration into the workplace (apoio à colocação);
    • post-placement follow-up (acompanhamento pós-colocação);
    • workplace adjustments and removal of architectural barriers (apoio para adaptação de postos de trabalho).
  2. Traineeships and job placements in mainstream and sheltered employment
    • Employment traineeships (Estágios Profissionais) – maximum 12 months (Ordinance 131/2017 of 7 April 2017);
    • Employment contract (Contrato-Emprego) – minimum 12 months for short-term contracts (Ordinance 34/2017 of 18 January 2017);
    • Insertion Employment Contract (Contrato-Emprego de Inserção (CEI) and CEI+) – maximum 12 months (Ordinance 20-B/2014 of 30 January 2014);
    • Supported employment in the open labour market (Emprego Apoiado em mercado aberto) - involves persons with incapacity levels between 30% and 90% ;
    • Sheltered employment in special supported employment centres (Emprego Protegido).

Most of these measures are in place since 2009, as regulated by Decree-Law 290/2009 of 12 October. However, some are more recent, and were only introduced by Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June 2015. Specifically, the Inclusive Employer Brand (Marca Entidade Empregadora Inclusiva) is a new measure allocated as a public award (Prémio de Mérito) to employers (Art. 1; Art. 79-81). Job-placement assistance (apoio à colocação) has been extended from six to a maximum of 12 months (Article 23, §1). Post-placement follow-up services (acompanhamento pós –colocação) are available to employees who acquired disabilities while working, and the duration of the service is up to 36 months for persons with disabilities participating in supported employment in the open labour market (Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June, Articles 25 and 27).

In 2017, Ordinance 131/2017 of 07 April replaced former legislation that regulated the Reactivate Programme and Estágios Emprego (Ordinance 149-B-2014 of 24 July and Ordinance 86/2015 of 20 March) and created Professional Traineeships (Estágios Professionais) that target all groups of the population, including young persons with disabilities (of 18 years and older), who are explicitly mentioned as beneficiaries (Articles 3, 11 and 14). According to this law, employers that convert temporary traineeships into permanent employment contracts in the period of 20 days after the termination of the traineeships are eligible to receive an award (“Premio ao Emprego”). In addition to these measures, a Network of Inclusion Service Centres (Rede de Balcões da Inclusão) has been launched in 2016 including eighteen offices in the regional departments of Social Security. These Centres provide information to persons with disabilities and their families related to social benefits, technical assistance as well as available employment and vocational training.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

F3. Workplace adaptations

Within the Portuguese legal framework reasonable accommodation is foreseen in relation to work and employment in the following legislation: Labour Code; Anti-discrimination Law 46/2006 and Decree-law 290/2009 amended by Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June. The Labour Code establishes the duty of 'reasonable accommodation' by stating in its Article 84 that employers 'should take appropriate measures to ensure access to employment and a career path to persons with disability and chronic disease, except if those measures impose a disproportionate burden'. The Anti-discrimination Law (Law 46/2006 of 28 August) considers discriminatory any actions of employers or recruitment agencies that restrict access of persons with disabilities to employment or result in termination of the employment contract (Art. 5). However, this Law also states that the feasibility of the employer to undertake appropriate measures will be examined in every situation to determine if such measures impose a disproportionate burden on the employer.

To help employers with adaptation/accommodation costs, the IEFP provides funding through the Support Programme for Employment and Vocational Training of Persons with Disabilities (as regulated Decree-law 290/2009, amended by Decree-Law 108/2015). According to Decree-Law 108/2015 (Chapter III, Sec. VI, Art. 33), the financial support for workplace adaptations is available both to public-sector and to private employers (except State administration), to compensate workplace adaptations, elimination of architectural barriers, wages and social security contributions if they employ persons with disabilities. This support is paid as a lump-sum subsidy that cannot exceed 16 times IAS for each person with disability (IAS is EUR 428.90 in 2018) and cannot be more than 50% of total adaptation costs

The IEFP Manual of 22 June 2015 clarifies the conditions for providing support for workplace adjustments and the removal of architectural barriers. This support can be provided to persons with disabilities in search of their first job and who are registered at Employment Centre or who are attending vocational training (initial and continuing – see E4 for details) and to workers who acquired disability during their professional life and need an adaptation in order to maintain their job. Funding, however, is not available for cases, in which the need for workplace adjustments results from a work-related accident or an occupational disease. The provision of post-placement support for persons with disabilities who participate in vocational training and qualification programmes may include (as regulated by Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June, Chapter III, Section IV, Articles 24-26): adaptation or reorganisation of job tasks for a person with disabilities returning to work; social integration into the work environment; development of social and personal skills; support for accessibility (from 12 to 24 months, and up to 36 months for supported employment in the open labour market).

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

F4. Financial incentives

Employers that hire disabled people in the open labour market may benefit from direct financial wage subsidies and some assistance for the provision of reasonable accommodations, as well as exemptions in contributions for social security. Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June 2015 regulates the provision of financial assistance (usually in the form of a lump-sum subsidy) to public and private employers for making workplace adaptations for persons with disabilities who are registered at the IEFP Employment Centres and attend vocational training (in the open labour market), are looking for their first job and are employed with a minimum one-year contract (Chapter III, Section VI). According to Decree-Law 108/2015 (Section V, Art. 57), employers providing supported employment in the open labour market (Emprego apoiado em mercado aberto) can request co-funding of expenses with wages and social security contributions.

In addition, the government has created the Youth Incentive Programme (Garantia Jovem) through the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 104/2013 of 19 December 2013 that allows a reduction of the social security contribution to employers who hire long-term unemployed youth, 18-30 years old, including youth with disabilities. As part of the Youth Incentive Programme, employers can get financial support from the National Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP, I.P.) to provide Employment Contracts (Contrato-Emprego) for young people, including youth with disabilities (as regulated by Ordinance 34/2017 of 18 January) or Professional traineeships – Estagios Profissionais (as regulated by Ordinance 131/2017 of 07 April that replaced Ordinance 149-B/2014 of 24 July and Ordinance 86/2015 of 20 March). As stated in Ordinance 131/2017 (Arts. 12-14), for traineeships, the IEFP may cover the monthly stipend that depends on the qualification level of trainees, and may also cover meals, transportation and work insurance costs. Trainees with disabilities (as stated in Art. 14 of the same Ordinance) have the right to get transportation from their place of residence to the place of the traineeship or receive an additional subsidy for transportation in the amount of 10% of the IAS (Social Support Index - IAS is EUR 428.90 in 2018). If the employer signs an employment contract with the trainee after the termination of the traineeship, the government pays this employer a premium in the maximum amount of up to five times of the IAS or EUR 2,144.50 in 2018. According to Ordinance 34/2017 of 18 January 2017 that regulates the Employment Contract measure, the financial assistance increases up to 10% if the employer signs a contract with a person with disability (Art. 10). Employers who convert a temporary employment contract into a permanent contract (also applicable for persons with disabilities) receive an award (Prémio de conversão) of up until the five times of the IAS (or EUR 2,144.50). The IEFP may also provide financial support to purchase, adapt or repair specialised or commercially available devices, equipment or technical systems to prevent, compensate, or reduce the activity limitations and participation restrictions in access to employment and/or during participation in vocational training programmes or needed for career progression (according to the IEFP Manual). According to Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June (Chapter III, Section VI, Art. 30-34), employers can get a subsidy in the amount up to 16 times of the IAS or EUR 6,741.12 for adapting the workplace for each person with disability, and/or 50% of the total adaptation cost in case of maintenance of employment or elimination of architectural barriers. In some cases, the IEFP can contribute up to 100% of the costs of support products, if they are not covered by any other system. Decree-Law 108/2015 of 17 June (Art. 34) has also extended the provision of financial support for workplace adaptations to the public-sector (except State administration).

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

G. Statistics and data collection

G1. Official research

The National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.), a public body that operates under the tutelage of the Ministry of Solidarity and Social Security, is responsible for research on disability equality and for the collection of data and statistics on disability (Decree-Law 217/2007 of 29 May and Order 641/2007 of 30 May). The INR, I.P. worked with the national statistics agency (Instituto Nacional de Estatística, INE) to develop the questions about activity limitation that were included in the 2011 Census, on the basis of the Washington Group questions on disability. In addition, occasionally, the INR, I.P. commissions independent research on disability issues. The studies commissioned by the INR date from 2010 and focused on the costs of disability, as well as on the discrimination of women with disabilities. Final reports are available from these studies on the INR website. In 2017, the Observatory of Disability and Human Rights (ODDH) published the first report ‘Persons with Disabilities in Portugal – Human Rights Indicators 2017’. This report sought to systematise information on the situation of persons with disabilities in Portugal, using existing national and international data sources, in order to draw indicators to measure the progress made in the fulfilment of human rights of persons with disabilities in Portugal.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

G2. Census data

Every ten years the National Institute for Statistics (INE) carries out the Portuguese Census. In 2001 the Census included for the first time questions about disability. The data collected is accessible to the wider public via the INE website and has been discussed in a paper published in the Institute journal, Demografia. A new set of questions was developed in the Census conducted in 2011 to address disability concerns. These new questions were based on the Washington Group on Disability Statistics methodology. The aim was to evaluate the degree of difficulty that people experience in everyday life 'as an outcome of their health status or aging'. The following questions were asked: Do you have difficulty seeing, even if using glasses or contact lenses?; Do you have difficulty hearing, even if using a hearing aid?; Do you have difficulty walking or climbing stairs?; Do you have difficulty remembering or concentrating?; Do you have difficulty bathing or dressing yourself?; Do you have difficulty understanding others or making yourself understood? For each question, the following options were presented: A. No difficulty or just a little; B. A lot of difficulty; C. Cannot do at all. The National Statistics Institute (INE) issued, in December 2012, a brochure entitled 'Health and Incapacities in Portugal in 2011', which provides a summary of the results of the ad hoc module of the Labour Force Survey on Persons with Disabilities, held in the second quarter of 2011, and the results of the 2011 Census.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2016-03-16

G3. Labour Force Survey

The National Institute of Statistics (INE) carries out every three months the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Persons with disabilities have not been identified in the survey. Nevertheless, in 2002 the data about disabled people were included in a special module. This happened again in the module that accompanied the application of the LFS in the second trimester of 2011. The module Employment of Persons with Disabilities 2011 (EPD 2011) targeted persons with disabilities aged 15-64, living in Portugal. The aim of the module was to provide information about the situation of persons with disabilities in the labour market, compared with that of persons without disabilities. Persons living in collective accommodation such as hotels, pensions and institutions, and individuals living in mobile homes were excluded from this survey. The EPD 2011 module included 11 indicators to describe the main long-term health problems, the main activity limitations and the limitations and special needs that result from them: four indicators to identify the two major health problems and the two major difficulties in daily life activities (19 questions); three indicators to evaluate the association between health problems and difficulties in daily life activities and limitations in the work schedule, the work tasks and transportation to and from work (12 questions); three indicators to determine needs for assistance with health problems or with daily life activities (three questions); and one indicator to identify the main causes of limitations in work abilities (ten questions). A summary of the results obtained with the ad hoc module of the LFS on persons with disabilities, held on the second quarter of 2011, as well as the results of the 2011 Census, was provided in a brochure entitled 'Health and Incapacities in Portugal in 2011', published by the National Statistics Institute (INE) in December 2012.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2016-03-16

G4. Disability equality indicators

The National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) is the official body responsible for developing disability equality indicators in Portugal. However, there is no evidence that these data have been developed by this Institute. In 2017, the Disability and Human Rights Observatory (ODDH) published the first report ‘Persons with Disabilities in Portugal – Human Rights Indicators 2017’. This report sought to systematise information on the situation of persons with disabilities in Portugal, using existing national and international data sources, in order to draw indicators to measure the progress made in the fulfilment of human rights of persons with disabilities in Portugal.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

H. Awareness and external action

H1. Awareness raising programs

According to Decree-Law 217/2007 of 29 May, the National Institute of Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) is the public body responsible for promoting and raising disability awareness activities. Every year the INR funds disabled people’s organisations to promote awareness raising activities. The INR is also responsible for raising awareness and providing information about accessible tourism, leisure and sport.

In addition, the Programme for Social Inclusion and Employment (Programa Operacional da Inclusão Social e Emprego – PO ISE) has been adopted in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy and the National Reform Programme (NRP) that also targets raising social awareness and providing special training for public servants and other staff about discrimination.

The School of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Lisbon established within the undergraduate programme in Social Work a new course on Social Work and the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The course entered into force in the school year 2015/16.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2016-03-16

H2. Training for teachers

Since the enactment of Decree-Law 3/2008 of 7 January on Inclusive Education (amended by Decree-Law 54/2018 of 6 July 2018), a number of training programmes started to become available for teachers in this area. Currently, the following options are available to raise awareness of teachers about inclusive education: optional units about special education in some initial teacher training programmes; Postgraduate Diplomas, Master's and PhDs programmes and specialised programmes in special education and early intervention as well as the possibility of developing research, theses and academic work on the topic of special education. The National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) offers every year a number of short training programmes on disability awareness and equality issues that are available to professionals in all areas of work. These trainings are available to persons with disabilities, family members, representatives of disabled people’s organisations, employees of public administration, technicians, students, researchers etc. In addition, the network of the ICT Resource Centres for Special Education (CRTIC) has been created that provide the assessment of students for the purpose of aligning the assistive technologies to their needs, information / training of teachers, professionals, teaching assistants and families about the problems associated with different domains of disability. The Directory General on Education initiated in March 2018 a training course on ‘Braille orientation’ for teachers that was organised in Porto and Coimbra in March-April 2018. In addition, some universities, e.g. University Lusofonia (School of Communication and Arts) in Lisbon, offer open courses on Braille.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

H3. Training for lawyers

The subject of the human rights of persons with disabilities is included in Human Rights Courses by some higher educational institutions (e.g. the School for Social and Political Sciences of Technical University of Lisbon). The only initiative that we are aware of in this domain is the post-graduate diploma on the topic of Law and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, launched by the Law School of the University of Lisbon in 2009/2010. This specialised training programme was undertaken in collaboration with a disability organisation - LIGA Foundation. Additionally, the Portuguese Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados) has established an agreement with the Portuguese Association of Persons with Disabilities that envisages information sharing about the rights of persons with disabilities, including participation in different events and publication of information online (Cl. 2,3). Both parties are obliged to provide trainings about the rights of persons with disabilities and share training materials (Cl. 4). Another initiative that can be mentioned here is the training offered by the Centre for Judicial Studies in Lisbon (Centro de Estudos Judiciários) on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (A25) to judges, magistrates, prosecutors and other professionals in this area. The National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) offers every year a number of short training programmes on disability awareness and equality issues that are available to professionals in all areas of work.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

H4. Training for doctors

There are no special training programmes for doctors that would increase disability awareness/equality issues. The New Code of Ethics of the Medical Association approved by the Regulamento 707/2016 of 21 July contains special provisions that are directly relevant for persons with disabilities, notably, Article 27 reminds doctors of their duties in case they suspect of abuse, mistreatment or harassment of an elderly or disabled person. The National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) offers every year a number of short training programmes on disability awareness and equality issues that are available to professionals in all areas of work.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

H5. Training for engineers

The National Institute for Rehabilitation (INR, I.P.) regularly offers short training courses and informs the general public on accessibility. The University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro created a bachelor degree in Human Rehabilitation Engineering and Accessibility. The first students graduated in July 2010. However, this course has been cancelled. The website: 'Rehabilitation Engineering' (Engenharia de Reabilitação) was created to promote in Portugal the Rehabilitation Engineering degree and the university education in this area (currently transformed into SUPERA - Sociedade Portuguesa de Engenharia de Reabilitação, Tecnologias de Apoio e Acessibilidade). In addition, a disability organisation the LIGA Foundation has offered several trainings, namely the Postgraduate Diploma on Design for Diversity in 2007, in partnership with University of Lisbon.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2018-08-20

H6. International development aid

Disability is a topic identified in the bilateral agreements that the Portuguese government has signed with the following states: Spain, Algeria and Cape Verde. These agreements focus on cooperation and exchange of information on a variety of themes, including that of disability. The Resolution of the Council of Ministers 17/2014 approves the Strategic Concept of the Portuguese Cooperation 2014-2020 (Conceito Estratégico da Cooperação Portuguesa) that regulates the cooperation of Portugal with Portuguese-speaking African countries and East-Timor. One of the goals of this Strategy is to support and promote projects to combat poverty among vulnerable groups such as children, elderly, and disabled people.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2016-03-16

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