DOTCOM: the Disability Online Tool of the CommissionSkip to search options
A. UN Convention status
A1. Ratification or conclusion of the UN Convention
The president of the Slovak Republic signed the Convention on 26 September 2007. In March 2010 the Slovak parliament announced the agreement for ratification of the Convention and on 28 April 2010 the president of the Slovak Republic ratified the Convention. The ratification deed was deposited by the Secretary-General of the UN on 26 May 2010. In accordance with Article No. 45/2 the Convention entered into force for the Slovak Republic on 25 June 2010. An announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic about adoption of the Convention in the Slovak Republic was published in the Collection under No. 317/2010 Coll.
A2. Ratification or accession to the Optional Protocol
In March 2010 the Slovak parliament announced the agreement for ratification of the Optional Protocol. On 28 April 2010 the president of the Slovak Republic ratified the Optional Protocol. The ratification deed was deposited by the Secretary-General of the UN on 26 May 2010. In accordance with Article No. 13/2 the Optional Protocol entered into force for the Slovak Republic on 25 June 2010. An announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic about adoption of the Optional Protocol in the Slovak Republic was published in the Collection under No. 318/2010 Coll.
A3. Declarations, Reservations and Objections
In accordance with Article 46 of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and Article 19 of the Vienna convention on the law of treaties, the Slovak Republic shall apply the provision of Article 27(1) on the condition that the implementation of the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability in setting conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment shall not apply in the case of recruitment for service as a member of the armed forces, armed security forces, armed corps, the National Security Office, the Slovak Information Service and the Fire and Rescue Corps.
A4. Comprehensive review
In preparation for ratification and also for implementation of the UN Convention, a comprehensive review of existing legislation in all different legal areas (e.g. education, health, transport and social security) was prepared. The main aim of the legal analysis was to review the accordance of the Slovak Republic legislation with the obligations of the UN Convention.
A5. Focal point
With an aim to implement and coordinate activities related to the UN CRPD, the Slovak government decided to set up at the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak republic the central focal point (hereinafter the 'CFP'). Since April 2013 the CFP became an organisational part of the Ministry's Department on Integration of Persons with Disabilities. The organisational status of the CFP was changed in January 2017 when the single Ministry´s Department on the Agenda of the CRPD´s Implementation was set up. This authority cooperates with other state administration bodies (notably with secondary focal points working at other relevant ministries, e.g. the Ministries for education, health issues, finance, culture, regional developments, etc), with governmental administrations and civic society organisations in order to implement the CRPD and to coordinate the preparation of the national report under Article 35 of the CRPD.
A6. Coordination mechanism
The Slovak Government decided to set up the central focal point (hereinafter the 'CFP') at the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak republic. From March 2013 on, the CFP became an organisational part of the Ministry's Department on Integration of Persons with Disabilities. The organisational status of the CFP was changed in January 2017 when the single Ministry´s Department on the Agenda of the CRPD´s Implementation was set up. Within its coordination function, the CFP issued in 2015 the interim report 'Deduction of fulfilling the time-scheduled provisions of the National Disability Programme for October 2014 – March 2015' (Odpočet plnenia časovo aktuálnych opatrení Národného programu rozvoja životných podmienok osôb so zdravotným postihnutím na roky 2014 – 2020 (október 2014 – marec 2015). Subsequently, the comprehensive document entitled 'The Report on fulfilling the provisions of the National Disability Programme for 2014-2015 and a draft for its updating' (Správa o plnení opatrení vyplývajúcich z Národného programu rozvoja životných podmienok osôb so zdravotným postihnutím na roky 2014 – 2020 a návrh na jeho aktualizáciu) was completed in 2016. Presently, the Second Report for 2016-2017 is under preparation.
A7. Independent mechanism
In September 2015, Act No. 176/2015 Coll. on Commissioner for Children and Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities came into force (zákon o komisárovi pre deti a komisárovi pre osoby so zdravotným postihnutím a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov). In November 2015, the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities was approved in the National Council of the Slovak republic. The Commissioner's office started work in March 2016. Up to March 2018, the Commissioner´s Office for Persons with Disabilities examined 423 cases in the areas of employment services and financial/compensatory help for persons with disabilities; 162 cases in areas of civic rights and family issues; 200 incentives in health care issues and social insurance; 137 cases concerning barrier-free accessibility; and 152 cases in the areas of social services and education.
A8. Official reporting
The first official Slovak report to the UN Convention (Východisková správa SR k Dohovoru o právach osôb so zdravotným postihnutím) was submitted in June 2012 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic to the Permanent Mission in Geneva in due date. A preliminary meeting to evaluate the report was held in Geneva on 8 September 2015. Consequently the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities issued on 11 September 2015 the List of 33 issues in relation to the initial report of Slovakia. In November – December 2015 the process to answer the list was organised. The constructive dialogue between the Governmental representatives of the Slovak Republic and the UN Committee was held on 4-5 April 2016. As a result, the Committee issued its Concluding Observations on the initial report of Slovakia adopted by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at its 15th session (29 March - 21 April 2016) which contains about 40 recommendations for the government to ensure proper implementation of the UN CRPD in Slovakia.
A9. Shadow reporting
The Slovak National Disability Council prepared the Alternative report to identify gaps and weaknesses of the CRPD implementation in Slovakia. The Report was sent to the UN Committee on 31 July 2015. Main recommendations were formulated, including such areas as reasonable accommodation and universal design, legal capacities issues, deinstitutionalisation, early intervention services, support of employment, or social protection issues. Another Alternative report was prepared by the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights. It formulated totally 12 recommendations to enforce human rights of persons with disabilities in Slovakia, namely in area of legal capacity, independent mechanism (setting up the commissionaire for persons with disabilities), accessibility, education, employment and operation of the focal point office.
B. General legal framework
B1. Anti-discrimination legislation
According to the Slovak Constitution (Act No. 460/1992 Coll., as amended) 'the basic rights and freedoms are guaranteed for all in Slovakia, regardless of their gender, race, skin colour, language, belief and religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, adherence to nationality or ethnic group, property, birth or other status. Nobody can be advantaged or disadvantaged on the aforementioned bases'. There is no explicit prohibition to discriminate against somebody on the basis of disability. However, in accordance with Article 38 of the Constitution, the rights of persons with disabilities are 'extra' protected with regard to health and working conditions, labour relationships and vocational training. Specifics of how to exercise the aforementioned 'extra' rights are detailed in specific laws (e.g. Labour Code, Employment Services Act). Another important piece of anti-discriminatory legislation is Act No. 365/2004 Coll. on equal treatment in some selected areas and protection against discrimination. In the basic section 2 it is constituted that 'adherence to the equal treatment principle lies in prohibition of discrimination on the basis of ... disability...'. As a discrimination on the basic of a disability even so a discrimination based on a former disability or a discrimination related to a person with some external symptoms of a disability, is accounted. The Act in section 8 sets up so called 'admissible unequal treatment'. Concerning disability, the admissible unequal treatment refers to the area of employment and to the provision of insurance services/products. Unequal treatment in employment is not considered as discrimination where specific requirements for performing some professions are established. In the case of insurance services/products, unequal treatment is not considered as discrimination when there is some degree of risk, which is verifiable by statistical or other evidence, and conditions for insurance services are reasonable to this risk. From another side, as a discrimination some temporarily provided affirmative provisions supporting access of some disadvantaged groups of people (including people with disabilities) to employment, education, health care or housing, are not accounted.
B2. Recognition of legal capacity
In 2015, Slovakia made a very significant step towards the implementation of the Guardianship reform. The Slovak National Council approved in 2015 Act No. 161/2015 on the Civic Out-of -dispute code (Občiansky mimosporový poriadok) which came into force in July 2016. Up to this date, the court could restrict a person’s legal capacity according to section 10 of the Civil Code (No. 40/1964 Coll., and its amendments) so that he/she was unable to act legally due to his/her mental disorder. This related principally to persons with intellectual disabilities and mental conditions as a result of impairment to the central nervous system (e.g. Alzheimer’s, organic psycho-syndrome) or mental conditions of uncertain cause (e.g. schizophrenia, manic-depression and autism). However, these persons, even with full or partial restriction of legal capacity, remained legal subjects. This means that the Civil Code distinguishes between the capacity to have the rights and the capacity to act independently. In deciding on deprivation of legal capacity or its restriction the court shall appoint a guardian for those who have been deprived of legal capacity or whose legal capacity has been restricted. The court monitors the guardian’s work and evaluates his/her performance at least twice a year. Since July 2016, the court may only restrict a person's legal capacity (Articles No. 231-251). Within this process the active inclusion of a person whose legal capacity is in a question is guaranteed. To complete the Guardianship reform an amendment of the Civil Code (of Article 10) is presently under preparation.
B3. Accessibility of voting and elections
National legislation concerning elections (including elections for the European Parliament) and referendum guarantees election rights for voters with disabilities. However there is a full legal barrier to the right to vote for persons with a loss of legal capacity. Such persons do not have the right to vote or to be voted. For persons with full legal capacity, in spite of disability, conditions for applying election rights are created so that the voter does not need to go to the polling station. The decision to vote from home is taken by a person with a disability. In such cases, members of the polling Electoral Committee bring the ballot card and envelope and they have to guarantee confidentiality of voting. A voter with a disability also has the right to ask another voter to adjust the ballot card according to his instructions and to place the ballot card in the envelope and into the ballot box. Such a person must not be a member of the polling Electoral Committee. Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic announced in August 2013 Basic principles of drafted acts on elections, elections campaign and political parties (Základné princípy navrhovaných právnych úprav k voľbám, volebnej kampani a politickým stranám). Consequently, a new Voting Act came into force since July 2014 which unified conditions for exercising voting rights for all types of elections.
B4. Official recognition of sign language
Act No. 149/1995 Coll. on sign language for deaf persons includes general conditions for implementing the right of deaf persons to use sign language: to be educated in sign language; to have interpreters of sign language in certain situations (such as when dealing with a public authority, municipality, regional offices and with other legal entities or persons); to obtain information via sign language e.g. on TV. Providing interpretation for sign language is free of charge. Act No. 448/2008 Coll. on Social Services addresses conditions concerning communication for blind-deaf persons and persons with hearing disabilities. Section 44 of this Act establishes three types of interpreting services: spoken language; sign language; and tactile communication. The Act on Social Services requires that any person wishing to act as an interpreter must hold certain qualifications (certification of interpretation as a minimum). Since January 2018, the Act constitutes a possibility to provide a deaf person or a hearing impaired person with an on-line based interpreting service.
B5. National disability strategy and action plan
In January 2014, the Slovak government approved the National Disability Programme for 2014-2020. Its full title is "The National Programme on Improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities for 2014-2020; Národný program rozvoja životných podmienok osôb so zdravotným postihnutím na roky 2014-2020." The Programme consists of a set of measures elaborated in 19 areas such as health care, employment, education, rehabilitation, cultural life, political and civil participation, which fulfilment is regularly evaluated. Within its coordination function, the Central Focal Point issued in 2015 the interim report 'Deduction of fulfilling the time-scheduled provisions of the National Disability Programme for the period of October 2014 – March 2015' (Odpočet plnenia časovo aktuálnych opatrení Národného programu rozvoja životných podmienok osôb so zdravotným postihnutím na roky 2014 – 2020 (október 2014 – marec 2015). Subsequently, the comprehensive document 'The Report on fulfilling the provisions of the National Disability Programme for 2014-2015 and a draft for its updating' (Správa o plnení opatrení vyplývajúcich z Národného programu rozvoja životných podmienok osôb so zdravotným postihnutím na roky 2014 – 2020 a návrh na jeho aktualizáciu) were completed in 2016. Presently, the Second Report for the years 2016-2017 is under preparation.
C1. Transport accessibility
The regulations of the European Parliament and Council, containing obligations relating to transport, airport terminals, ports, railway and bus stations, including technical equipment for enabling access to transportation for persons with disabilities, and the building of acoustic and visual information systems for people with disabilities are implemented in the Slovak legislation (e.g. Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2006 and Regulation (EC) No. 1371/2007).
The National Disability Programme for the years 2014-2020 in Measure 4.3.6. 'Systematically improve accessibility of the public transport vehicles and transport infrastructure' sets the following actions to be taken: 'To increase number of barrier-free public transport vehicles; To ensure information systems for persons with sensorial impairments in all new vehicles (bus stop voice notification for persons with visual impairment; visual screens for persons with hearing impairments); Systematically improve accessibility of bus stations, rail stations and airports.'
Responsible authority: The Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic
Road Transport: The legislation regulating road transport (Act No. 56/2012 Coll. on Road Transport, as amended) pays special attention to people with disabilities. At first, the special rights and duties of passengers with disabilities and passengers with reduced mobility are part of the transport regulation which contains the details about the rights and duties of the transport authority and the passengers. Secondly, a passenger with disability with a guided dog or a passenger with reduced mobility has the right for a reserved place in the vehicle. Thirdly, technical standards on transportation of passengers with disabilities and passengers with reduced mobility are part of the 'Agreement on Services' signed between the customer and provider of the public transport services. Finally, the existing transport infrastructure (bus waiting rooms and bus stops) must take into account the requirements for barrier-free access for persons with disabilities. Otherwise, the owners or providers of this transport infrastructure are in a risk of a fine ranging from EUR 1,000 to EUR 15,000.
Railway Transport: According to the Railways Act, No. 513/2009 Coll. as amended, the rail infrastructure and railway cars have to be accessible for persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility in order to provide their barrier-free access to transportation on an equal basis with others. At the stations, stops and platform the rail provider is obliged to introduce and maintain the information system necessary for passengers' orientation, including the passengers with visual impairment and the passenger with hearing impairment. The rail provider is also obliged to ensure that the station, stops and platform are accessible to persons with physical disability. The provider who does not keep these rules can be charged a fine ranging from EUR 800 to EUR 10,000.
According to the Decree No. 351/2010 Coll. on railway transport rules, visual information about the train timetable have to be accessible via acoustic, tactile and visible elements used by persons with sensory impairments. Detailed measures for transportation of persons with disabilities are set in separate transportation rules. According to these rules, a person with disability or a person with reduced mobility can request assistance during the travel. However, he/she has to apply for assistance at least 24 hours in advance and arrive at the station no later than 30 minutes before the train's departure. The railway services provide reduced fare rates for persons with severe disabilities and free transportation for guardians/assistants of persons with disabilities.
Air transport: Act No. 143/1998 Coll. on civil aviation imposes on the carrier the obligation to mitigate the travelling of persons with disabilities.
C2. Built environment accessibility
There are two approaches on how to ensure accessibility of the built environment for persons with disabilities.
- Provisions within general building conditions: Act No. 50/1976 Coll. On Land-use Planning and Building ('The Building Act'), as amended, incorporates in Section 47 and the following paragraphs the binding nature of the general technical requirements for the constructions used by persons with reduced mobility, specifying the requirements for territorial-technical design of the construction development and for the specific design of construction. Legal entities, natural persons, state administration and self-administration bodies shall follow these requirements in the phase of positioning, designing, approving, execution, final building approval, exploitation and removal of the construction.
More detailed requirements to ensure a barrier-free environment are set up in Decree No. 532/2002 Coll., as amended, laying down details on the general technical requirements for the construction and general technical requirements for the constructions used by persons with reduced mobility and orientation. The Decree is applied in the design and approval of the local field plan, during the positioning, designing, approval, execution and use of the construction and in the phase of changes of the construction (extension, super structure, construction adaptation). There are explicit requirements for making buildings accessible for persons with reduced mobility, for blind and partially sighted persons and for hearing impaired persons.
- Individualised provisions: The individualised provisions are set up in Act No. 447/2008 Coll. on direct payments to compensate consequences of severe disabilities. This refers specifically to direct payment for adaptation of dwellings and garage spaces (Section 37 of the Act) provided to persons with severe disabilities to make them more usable for free moving or communication. Provision of this type of direct payment is needs- and means-tested (i.e. income, property) .
Regarding the built environment accessibility, the following measures have been set in the new National Disability Programme for 2014-2020:
Measure 4.3.4.: to ensure barrier-free buildings for state and local government and public institutions
Actions to be taken suggest to:
- ensure in all public administration buildings (state and local government) the identification of barriers which are in conflict with barrier-free policies and laws;
- elaborate a five-year Action Plan with priorities for elimination of the identified barriers;
- ensure financial resources for elimination of the identified barriers in accordance with the Action Plan;
- ensure regular monitoring of physical accessibility in the buildings via internal audit or involving other designated authority at the end of the five-year period.
Responsible authority: national government institutions (Ministries) and local government in cooperation with NGOs.
Measure 4.3.5: to ensure the accessibility of new buildings and areas for public utilisation / activities.
Action to be taken: to specify requirements for application of the principles of the barrier-free environment set out in the Building Act, and of universal design as described in the European documents.
Responsible authority: Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak Technical University
Proposer of the measure: Slovak Disability Council.
C3. ICT and Web accessibility
Under Article 26 of the Slovak Constitution (Act 460 of 1992, as amended), the right to information is guaranteed 'to everyone'. Public authorities are obliged to provide information in certain ways that are specified in Act No. 275/2006 Coll. on informational systems of public administration (Zákon o informačných systémoch verejnej správy), as amended. The Act constitutes rights and obligations of the public authorities to set up, administer, use and develop information systems. The main responsibilities are with the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic that issued Regulation 55/2014 Coll. on standards for informational systems of public administration, as amended (Výnos 55/2014 o štandardoch pre informačné systémy verejnej správy v znení neskorších predpisov). The Standards of web accessibility presented Annex 1 include all standards for web accessibility corresponding with the required international standards in this field.
Act No. 305/2013 on e-Government (Zákon č. 305/2013 Z. z. Zákon o elektronickej podobe výkonu pôsobnosti orgánov verejnej moci a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov), as amended, regulates the public administration electronically and requires in Article 4 that all access points, common modules and functionalities under their administration are accessible to people with disabilities.
Regarding ICT and web accessibility, the following measures have been set in the National Disability Programme for 2014-2020:
Measure 4.3.1: To monitor and analyse the situation in web accessibility of public administration institutions, mainly in order to get evidence for further improvements in this area.
Action to be taken: To monitor the web accessibility according to WCAG 2.0 standards and their impact on the provision of the public administration services.
Responsible authority: The Ministry of Finances of the Slovak Republic.
Measure 4.3.2: To ensure accessibility of the legislation portal.
Action to be taken: to ensure the accessibility of the legislation portal and the documents published there in accordance with the accessibility standards set out in the relevant acts.
Responsible authority: The Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic.
Measure 4.3.3: To build integrated operating places to provide assisted electronic services also to persons with disabilities.
Action to be taken: The goal of the Operational Programme on Informatization of Society is the development of the e-Government and electronic services at the local and regional levels.
Regarding print material, on 1 January 2016 the new Author’s Act No. 185/2015 Coll. came into force. According to its Article 46, making publications accessible for persons with disabilities without the author’s agreement is not considered as the copyright infringement.
D. Independent living
D1. Choice of living arrangements
Persons with disabilities are not obliged to live in particular living arrangements; Act No. 448/2008 Coll. on Social Services, in section 6, guarantees the right of a person to choose the form of social service (in his/her own dwelling, community home, ambulant or institutional). This means that only the persons themselves can decide (or his/her parents or guardian, appointed by court) when and where they want to live. This act also gives preference to community-home and ambulant social services rather than institutional services. The Civil Procedure Act regulates the admission and stay of people who are placed in health care institutions. A ruling by a court of law is necessary for institutional admission against a person’s will. In case if the client is in an institution, the providers of social services are obliged to cooperate with the family, municipality or community with the aim of creating conditions that will enable the person with disabilities to return to the community. This ambition is embodied within the National priorities of social services development for 2015-2020 (Národné priority rozvoja sociálnych služieb na roky 2015-2020). Besides social services, there are other measures previewed to support/facilitate the person to live in his/her community (e.g. personal assistance).
The Government of the Slovak Republic approved the Strategy for deinstitutionalization of the social services system and substitute care in Slovakia ('DI Strategy') by Regulation No. 761/2011 on 30 November 2011. Subsequently, the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic approved in December 2011 the National Action Plan for the transition from institutional to community-based care in the social services system 2012-2015 ('DI National Action Plan'), followed by the National Action Plan for 2016-2020 approved in September 2016. The DI Strategy and the DI National Action Plan have been developed in cooperation with a broadly-based working group of experts in the field of social services and substitute care. The main vision and the aim of the Slovak policy for the transition from institutional to community living arrangements is to create conditions for independent and free living in a natural community environment with an available, effective and coordinated network of services provided with respect to human rights and equal opportunities, taking into account the individual needs of all recipients (children, elderly persons, persons with disabilities) for social services. Some of the key rules for this policy are: respect for the rights of recipients and their participation in decision-making; prevention of institutionalisation; closure of institutions; change of legislation; provision of holistic access; awareness-raising; staff training; evaluation of the quality of social services; coordination of key actors, etc. Slovakia has been planning and implementing the whole process with the resources of the European Fund for Regional Development and European Social Fund (the OP Employment and Social Inclusion, next the OP Human Resources) in accordance with the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the UN CPRD (Article 19). It should be highlighted that the Act on Social Services and the new National Priorities of the Social Services Development for the years 2015-2020 (Národné priority rozvoja sociálnych služieb na roky 2015-2020) include important measures supporting transition from institutions to community living (e.g., the right to choose the form and place of the social service; obligation on providers to cooperate with the family, municipality and community to prevent long-term stay of dependent persons in residential care and to create conditions for returning to a natural family environment; preference of social facilities with a capacity lower than 40 beds that is viewed as a community-friendly principle; support for users to remain in their natural environment/community via development of community-based social interventions; development of out-patient and weekly basis social services to enable persons with disabilities to maintain relations with their family members, friends, neighbours and to support their inclusion into society in all life areas, e.g. labour market, education, leisure time). To support the implementation of all these new principles, the national project 'Support of deinstitutionalisation and transformation process in social services system' was implemented in 2013-2015 and included seven residential care providers. Presently, a new phase of the national DI Project, with a special focus on support to transformational teams of the DI facilities, is under preparation to extend the DI principles into practice to about 90 new residential care providers. In Slovakia, the DI effort is financially supported by the European Social Fund (the Operational Programme Human Resources) and by the European Regional Development Fund (the Integrated Regional Operational Programme).
D3. Quality of social services
In Slovakia, a mechanism for ensuring the quality of social services has been established by Act No. 448/2008 Coll. on Social Services (Zákon o sociálnych službách), as amended. This Act came into force in January 2009, although the section referring to quality issues (including quality indicators) came into force later, in January 2014. Finally, the date for the implementation of the quality evaluation was postponed to January 2018, due to lack of funds and organisational support. In section 104, and the related Annex 2 of the Act, the rules for the evaluation of social services are established. Four areas (aspects) of quality conditions are evaluated:
- enforcement of human rights and freedoms (e.g., rules about how to respect human dignity of clients, how to protect them against discrimination and poor treatment, how to respect their individuality, natural/community based sources, relationships and needs);
- procedural quality conditions (e.g., ways and rules about how to elaborate, implement or revise a client’s individual plan of social services, how to provide potential clients with necessary information in an accessible format, how to monitor the client's satisfaction with a provided service and harmony between the service and the client's needs);
- personnel quality conditions (e.g., criteria/approaches for selecting staff, for further education of staff and for evaluation and rewarding staff work); and
- operational quality conditions (e.g., barrier-free environment of service, ensuring all conditions for administering service processes, maintaining human dignity of recipients and providers, rules for dealing with emergency situations, securing personal data, informational strategy of the social service provider).
Evaluation of the conditions for quality of social services will be provided since 2018 by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic through its state servants, in collaboration with other independent experts who must have a minimum of three years expertise in the field being evaluated. When a certain social service provider receives in its evaluation less than 60% on all points, the quality conditions are not met. The results of quality assessments will be announced by the Ministry in the Central Register of social service providers. When the provider does not improve the situation in a set deadline, the Ministry can remove the provider from the Register. In order to support social service providers in the process of quality conditions implementation, the Ministry, in collaboration with the Institute for Labour and Family Research and with a broad working group, prepared in 2015 the document entitled 'The implementation of quality conditions into social services practice – methodological backgrounds' (Implementácia podmienok kvality do praxe poskytovateľov sociálnych služieb – metodické východiská). The methodological work continued in 2016 with the aim to prepare document for future evaluators titled as 'Evaluation of quality conditions of provided social services – methodological backgrounds: draft' (Hodnotenie podmienok kvality poskytovaných sociálnych služieb – metodické východiská: návrh). Based on the methodological preparation, the National project 'The Quality of Social Services' will start in September 2018 with an estimated duration of four years.
D4. Provision of assistive devices at home
There are two approaches to provide disabled persons with necessary assistive devices to live at home as independently as possible:
- Assistive devices for disabled persons with various types and degrees of functional impairments are provided from the health insurance fund under Act No. 140/1998 Coll. on medications and medical devices (Zákon o liekoch a zdravotníckych pomôckach), as amended, and conditions are detailed in the Decree of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic on a Register of medical devices financed fully or partially from public health insurance. The Register is updated every six months (the most recent as of 1 October 2012). The health insurance fund finances, for example, crutches, mechanical and electrical wheelchairs, bathtub boards and adaptive beds.
- Assistive devices from the social assistance pillar are provided under Act No. 447/2008 Coll. on direct payments on compensation for the social consequences of severe disabilities (Zákon o peňažných príspevkoch na kompenzáciu ťažkého zdravotného postihnutia), in the form of: cash benefits for purchasing a device (sections 24-28 of the Act); cash benefits for training in using a device (sections 24-28 of the Act); cash benefits for device adaptation (sections 24-28 of the Act); cash benefits for repairing a device (section 32 of the Act); cash benefits for purchasing a lifting appliance (section 33 of the Act). There is a legal rule that cash benefits for purchasing, training and for adapting a device cannot be provided if the actual device is provided from the health insurance system, with the exception of second mechanical and electric wheelchairs and second hearing appliances. As a device for the purpose of compensation, a specially trained dog is also considered. The aforementioned cash benefits are provided by local state administration on the basis of a comprehensive needs assessment and means (income and property) testing.
D5. Availability of personal assistance schemes
According to Act No. 447/2008 Coll. on direct payments for compensation of the social consequences of severe disability, a person with a severe disability can be provided with a direct payment for personal assistance (hereinafter ‘DPPA’). The legal system of personal assistance was set up in Slovakia in July 1999 with the objective of supporting the social inclusion of persons with severe disabilities, to encourage their independence in life and chances to make their own choices and decisions concerning their own lives, with regard to family, job, education and leisure time. The DPPA is provided directly to people older than six years and up to 65. After 65 DPPA is only provided for persons who were entitled to this social benefit before reaching the age-limit. Personal assistants are recruited primarily from adult persons beyond the family circle (‘foreign persons’). According to the law, relatives can provide personal assistance only in selected ADLs, primarily by personal hygiene or night care, where assistance by foreign persons could be problematic. The DPPA is a needs and means tested social benefit. The maximum amount for one person is 7,300 hours per calendar year. The amount for a certain person is determined by an ADL/IADL assessment process, carried out by offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (local state administration), with active involvement of the person with disability. These authorities are responsible for providing DPPAs, resourced from direct taxes (state budget). The DPPA does not cover assistance related to job performance or to education if the person with disability needs some individualised help. In these cases necessary assistance can be provided as job assistance (financed by the Act on Employment Services) or as teaching assistance for a pupil with disability (financed by the Act on Education).
D6. Income maintenance
Generally, the income of the working age disabled people can consist of three sources: income from a job/employment, from a disability pension and from disability-related cash benefits. Because the majority (about 70%) of the working age disabled population in Slovakia belongs to an inactive population, the main source of income maintenance comes from the insurance based disability pension scheme. According to Act No. 461/2003 Coll. on Social insurance (Zákon o sociálnom poistení), as amended, a person is considered as disabled if his/her earning ability falls by more than 40% (the maximum is 100%) due to his/her long term unfavourable health conditions. The criterion of 'earning ability limitation’ (or earning ability restriction) has no relation to the previous earnings of a person with disability and a certain percentage is determined only in comparison to a non-disabled person. A disability pension cannot be claimed if a person satisfies the conditions for claiming an old age pension or asks for an early retirement pension. Only persons who have fulfilled the required period of insurance can receive a disability pension. The required period of employment depends upon the age, as follows: Up to 20 years, less than one year; 20–24 years, minimum one year; 24-28 years, minimum two years; 28-34 years, minimum five years; 34-40 years, minimum eight years; 40–45 years, minimum ten years; over 45 years, minimum 15 years. Persons over 45 years of age must have completed the employment period of 15 years prior to the occurrence of their disability. In the case of work-related injuries or occupational diseases, and for persons being disabled since childhood, no minimum period is required. According to current developments, prevalence of disabled people entitled to disability pensions corresponding with a decrease of working (earning) ability of between 41-70% (in older legal terminology as ‘persons with a partial invalidity pension’) was higher (in June 2015 a portion of 57%) in comparison to those with a decrease of working (earning) ability of more than 70% (previously, as ‘persons with a full invalidity pension’). Disabled people who were entitled until 31 December 2000 to the scheme called ‘supplement to pensions due to incapacity’ under the former legislation, still receive this. Expenditures on this special benefit are covered from the state budget, not from the Social insurance fund. In order to compensate for the social consequences of severe disabilities and to maintain an income for persons with severe disabilities and their families, some disability-related cash benefits are provided. Entitlements in this field arise under the conditions of Act No. 447/2008 Coll. on direct payments on compensation for the consequences of severe disabilities (Zákon o peňažných príspevkoch na kompenzáciu ťažkého zdravotného postihnutia). Cash benefits are provided in four areas: the area of mobility and orientation; the area of communication; the area of increased costs; and the area of self-help (ADL/IADL areas). There are possibilities for providing persons gaining the legal status of a person with severe disability (at least 50% of functional impairment) with various cash benefits/direct payments: for personal assistance; for purchasing and adapting a device and for training in using a device; for repairing a device; for purchasing a lifting appliance; or purchasing a personal vehicle; for adaptation of a personal vehicle; for transportation; for a flat, house or garage adaptation; for compensation of disability related increased costs; for providing of informal care (care allowance). Provision of direct payments is needs and means (income and property) tested and is in the original competency of local state administrations. All expenditures are covered from the state budget.
D7. Additional costs
The provision to compensate some additional living costs related to severe disability is set up in Act No. 447/2008 Coll. on direct payments on compensation for the consequences of severe disabilities (Zákon o peňažných príspevkoch na kompenzáciu ťažkého zdravotného postihnutia). In Section 38 of this Act, the legal conditions for the cash benefit (direct payment) for compensation of disability related increased costs are established. The increased costs are related to: a special diet; to hygiene or clothing, linen, footwear and furnishings; to running a personal motor vehicle; to care for a specially trained dog. The abovementioned cash benefits and its components are provided in accordance with person’s needs and his/her means situation (it is needs and means tested). If the person’s income exceeds three times the threshold of the substantial minimum the entitlements are lost. Needs assessment and entitlements are implemented by local state administrations. Expenditures for this type of compensatory scheme are covered by the state budget.
D8. Retirement income
Persons with disabilities who are recipients of disability pension (invalidity pension) after achieving retirement age (generally 62 years) are entitled to ask for retirement pension. If the amount of a person’s retirement pension is higher than the amount of invalidity pension, the Social Insurance Company will pay the higher amount. Usually the retirement pension is higher because a person with disability could be employed prior to achieving retirement age or, if not employed during this period, according to a legal condition, the required period of employment is automatically included. To apply for retirement pension is the right, not an obligation of a person with disability. The required period of employment depends on age, as follows: up to 20 years, less than one year; 20-24 years, minimum one year; 24-28 years, minimum two years; 28-34 years, minimum five years; 34-40 years, minimum eight years; 40-45 years, minimum ten years; over 45 years, minimum 15 years. Persons over 45 years of age must have completed the employment period in the 15 years prior to the occurrence of the invalidity/disability. In the case of work-related injuries or occupational diseases and for persons disabled since childhood, no minimum period is required (section 72 Act on social insurance). In 2015 the Social insurance act was amended, as an institute of a minimal pension was introduced since July 2015. Entitlements for minimal pension are accessible for disability pension recipients after reaching old age.
E1. Special schools
According to the Slovak Constitution everybody has the right to education and to attend school. Pupils with different types of disabilities may be educated in a mainstream school (with an individualised integration approach or a classroom integration approach) or in a special school. Regardless the educational model (track), according to Act No. 245/2008 Coll. on Education (the School Act), as amended (Zákon o výchove a vzdelávaní (Školský zákon) special disability-related support provisions are only put in place if a child/pupil gains the status of 'child or pupil with special educational needs'.
The status corresponds to the child's or pupil’s requirements for special conditions, content, forms, methods and approaches in education due to his/her health condition. To implement education in a segregated/specialised environment, some types of special schools are established (section 95 of the Act) such as kindergarten, primary schools and secondary schools for pupils with health conditions or impairments, practical schools and apprentice schools.
During the education process special compensatory devices and special educational texts are used in accordance with the pupils' needs. Related extra expenditures are covered by the school in which the child is educated.
On a medical recommendation, the child can be exempted from the obligation to attend the school and can fulfil his/her compulsory school attendance in two particular ways: (1) individual education, or (2) education under an individual learning plan.
According to Section 107 of the Act, “a child or a pupil whose special educational needs arise solely from the ground of his/her development in the socially disadvantaged background cannot be admitted to a special school or to a special class of pre-school, primary school or secondary school.” This provision concerns mostly those children who were diagnosed with light intellectual disability on the basis of their cultural background and anti-Roma prejudice. Attendance of a special primary school for pupils with intellectual disabilities does not allow to continue to upper secondary education and to get a good job.
According to Section 144 of the Act, a guardian has the right to choose a school that best “corresponds to the child’ abilities, health conditions, interests” depending on the opportunities available in the educational system. Since the available opportunities shall also be taken into consideration, the final decision on whether a child may attend education in a chosen school depends on the school director. According to the law, the school director can suggest to the child’s guardian that he/she might benefit more from another educational setting, if they believe that educating the child with special needs in a mainstream school is not in the best interests of the child or his/her schoolmates. Before 'replacement' (removal), the public school authorities and relevant centre for educational counselling and prevention must be consulted. If parents or legal guardians do not agree with the suggested solution, a relevant court makes the decision about how to ensure that the "ongoing education of the child continues".
The details about the education process at special schools are set by Decree No. 322/2008 on Special Schools, as amended (Vyhláška č. 322/2008 Z. z. o špeciálnych školách v znení neskorších predpisov). It deals with the organisation of the educational process, number of pupils per class, admissions to schools and evaluation of pupils with special educational needs at special schools. In its Annex, the Decree provides the list of apprenticeship fields available at vocational schools.
The Act no. 597/2003 Coll. on financing primary schools, secondary schools and school facilities, as amended (Zákon č. 597/2003 Z. z. o financovaní základných škôl, stredných škôl a školských zariadení) establishes the transport contribution for a pupil with special educational needs to travel to the nearest special school if there is none in the place of the pupil’s permanent residency.
E2. Mainstream schools
According to the National Disability Programme 2014 - 2020 (Národný program rozvoja životných podmienok osôb so zdravotným postihnutím), Section 4.7 on Education, the public and private authorities have commitments to ensure the conditions under which persons with disabilities can exercise their educational rights, primarily in mainstream/inclusive settings. Act No. 245/2008 coll. School Act, as amended (Zákon o výchove a vzdelávaní /Školský zákon), states that a guardian has a right to choose a school that best "corresponds with the abilities of a child, his/her health conditions, interests" depending on the opportunities available in the educational system. Article 94 of the Act establishes the conditions for mainstream schools to employ special needs teachers, school psychologists, school speech therapists or curative teachers if there are more than 20 pupils with disabilities mainstreamed (except pupils with disabilities in special classes).
According to Decree No. 306/2008 on Pre-schools (Vyhláška č. 306/2008 Z. z. o materskej škole v znení neskorších predpisov), the class teacher creates the conditions for education of a child with special educational needs (SEN) in cooperation with the child’s parents or guardians, other teachers at the pre-school, the child’s GP and the school counselling and prevention services. Only two children with SEN can be accepted per class. Moreover, the maximum number of children in mainstream class is reduced by two for each child with SEN (from 20 to 22 according to the age).
More details about the education of pupils with special educational needs at mainstream primary schools are set by Decree No. 320/2008 on Primary School, as amended (Vyhláška č. 320/2008 Z. z. o základnej škole v znení neskorších predpisov). According to Section 5 of the Decree, the class teacher defines the conditions under which the pupil with special educational needs is educated in the mainstream class. He/she does so in cooperation with the pupil’s GP and school counselling and prevention services. The same Decree in Section 16 sets the provision of a special type of physical education called 'the health PE'. The pupils with special educational needs participate in this type of PE on the basis of their doctor’s recommendation and the agreement of the pupil’s parents or guardians. In case the number of pupils in the 'health PE' group is lower than eight, the group is cancelled. If there is no other group at school where the rest of SEN pupils can perform the 'health PE', the pupils are partially of fully exempted from PE. They perform exercises suitable for their health status according to the GP’s recommendation. Pupils with partial exemption from PE are evaluated respecting their disability or health status. In case the special class is established at a mainstream school, the education process is provided according to the Decree No. 322/2008 on Special Schools (Vyhláška č. 322/2008 Z. z. o špeciálnych školách v znení neskorších predpisov).
According to Act No. 317/2009 Coll. on pedagogic employees and specialists, as amended (Zákon č. 317/2009 Z. z. o pedagogických zamestnancoch a odborných zamestnancoch a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov), the creation of equal opportunities in education and the provision of necessary support to overcome architectural, information, language, medical, social and cultural barriers is the responsibility of the teacher’s assistant. He/she helps the teacher or other pedagogic staff with the education of pupils with special educational needs at the pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools (only for pupils with disabilities) and special schools.
Financial support for equipment and adaptation of the mainstream school environment or for any other extra support (e.g. teacher’s assistants) comes from the state budget (The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Slovak republic) via municipalities or regional offices.
According to Act No. 596/2003 Coll. on public administration in schools and school municipalities, as amended (Zákon č. 596/2003 Z. z. o štátnej správe v školstve a školskej samospráve a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov), the expenses on teachers’ assistants for children/pupils with special educational needs in preschools and school facilities can be taken into account by the municipality during the setting the financial sources for preschools and school facilities.
E3. Sign language and Braille in school
The Act No. 159/1995 on Sign Language, as amended, regulates sign language use to ensure the inclusion of deaf persons in society. According to this Act, deaf persons have the right to use sign language, the right to education in sign language, the right to access information in sign language on TV and the right to access information of public interest and related to the rights of persons with hearing impairment.
The details on how to implement these rights in education are explained in Act No. 245/2008 Coll. on Education (the School Act), as amended (Zákon č. 245/2008 Z. z. o výchove a vzdelávaní (školský zákon) a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov). According to Section 144 of this Act, “a child/pupil with special educational needs has the right to education by using specific forms and methods according to his/her needs and to the necessary conditions which are essential for the child/pupil’s education. He/she has the right to use special textbooks and special didactic and compensational aids: sign language for children and pupils with hearing impairment, Braille for children and pupils with visual impairment, alternative means of communication for children/pupils with communication problems.”
In order to support the education of young persons with sensory impairments at university level, the Centre for visually impaired students (Podporné centrum pre zrakovo postihnutých študentov) was established in 1993 at Comenius University in Bratislava. Since 2009 the Centre has been operating as the Support Centre for Students with Special Needs; extending its support services to students with hearing impairments, students with mobility problems, chronic diseases, learning disorders, etc. However, there has been no research on sign language in Slovakia. There is no higher education institution offering a Bachelor or Master programme in sign language. A working group has been set up to address qualification issues of sign language interpreters coordinated by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs.
E4. Vocational training
The legal framework on the right to vocational education and training of pupils and students, including pupils and students with disabilities, is embedded in Article 42 of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic and in Act No. 245/2008 Coll. on Education, as amended (Zákon č. 245/2008 Z. z. o výchove a vzdelávaní (školský zákon) a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov).
Students with disabilities can acquire vocational education and training in the following forms: in special classes in mainstream secondary schools; in regular classes with other students in mainstream secondary schools; in special secondary schools which are differentiated by type of disability. Pupils and students with disabilities have the right to an individual educational approach that respects their ability and health, to be taught by teachers with professional teaching experience, to a safe and healthy educational environment and to be recognised and respected as individuals.
To make education more 'oriented to labour market needs' the dual system of education for all pupils at the vocational schools was introduced in 2015 by the Act No. 61/2015 on vocational education and training, as amended (Zákon č. 61/2015 Z. z. o odbornom vzdelávaní a príprave a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov). It came into force on 1 April 2015. Pupils could start the dual system of education in September 2015. The dual system of education does not specifically mention pupils with disabilities, or any other disadvantaged groups of students. It is assumed that they are subsumed under the articles for all pupils at vocational schools. In other words, there are no specific measures to support participation of pupils at special schools in dual education.
E5. Higher education
In Slovakia, the universities and colleges are explicitly subjected to non-discrimination laws and the implementation of the equal treatment principle. The Manifesto of the Government of the Slovak Republic declares ensuring access to tertiary education by providing 'special support to the establishment and development of assistance centres for students with disabilities'.
Act No. 131/2002 Coll. on higher education, as amended, in Section 55, guarantees for all applicants and students equal treatment in education to exercise all the rights set out under this Act: 'Discrimination on the grounds of ...disability... is explicitly prohibited'. To implement the principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination in educational practice, the Act and related legislation establish several particular arrangements for students with special needs (including students with disabilities). Firstly, there is a general obligation for universities/colleges 'to create reasonable study conditions for students with disabilities, by referring to their special study needs without declining requirements on their study performances'. Reasonable conditions include the choice to study under an individual study plan and, if necessary, to extend the study period (Section 100 of the Act). Secondly, students with special needs have a claim for support services in minimum standards consequently defined in Decree of the Ministry of Education No. 458/2012 on minimum standards of support services for students with special needs, specifically set for various types of disabilities / special needs. Thirdly, the universities are obliged to appoint a disability coordinator (legally speaking, a coordinator for students with special needs), and also appoint faculty coordinators. In Section 100 of the Higher Education Act, some of the responsibilities of disability coordinators are defined. Apart from that, two support centres (at Comenius University in Bratislava and Technical University in Kosice) have been established to provide guidance and ensure coordination for disability coordinators of all universities, and promote knowledge and innovation in providing support services for students with special needs. With regard to funding, the school must establish the so-called 'Fund for Support Students with special needs' to create reasonable study conditions for young persons with disabilities (Section 16a of the Act). In 2015, for the first time funding was allocated from the state budget to support students with special needs. In total EUR 650,000 were transferred to universities for this purpose, according to the number of students with special needs in each of them who are registered at the Central Registry of Students. Other forms of individual financial support for students with disabilities are cash benefits from compensatory policy (as regulated by Act No. 447/2008 Coll. on direct payments for compensation for the consequences of severe disabilities). Accessibility and research grants from structural funds are administered by the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic.
The National Disability Program for 2014-2020 sets out the following measures in the field of higher education:
Measure 4.7.7: To approve the National Action Plan on Accessible Academic Environment and corresponding study conditions for students with specific needs.
Action to be taken: Approve and perform the National Action Plan.
Responsible authority: Ministry of ESRS in cooperation with the Advisory Body of the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport for study support of students with specific needs (Rada ministra školstva, vedy, výskumu a športu SR na podporu štúdia študentov so špeciálnymi potrebami).
Start date: 2015 and continuously.
Measure 4.7.8: Systematic support of networking and education of university coordinators for students with specific needs.
Action to be taken: Preparation of study materials and organization of regular meetings of disability coordinators (representing each university).
Responsible authority: Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the Advisory Body of the Minister for study support of students with specific needs.
Start date: 2014 and continuously.
F1. Non-discrimination in employment
The Slovak Constitution (Act No. 460/1992 Coll., as amended) guarantees, in Article 38, the general right of persons with disabilities to protection in vocational training, employment, labour relations through the creation of reasonable working conditions. Among the fundamental principles of the Labour Code (Act No. 311/2001 Coll., as amended) lies the principle of equal treatment in labour relations. Article 1 specifies that 'Everyone has the right to employment and for a free choice of work, for fair and friendly working conditions and for protection against unemployment. These rights belong to persons without any limitations; direct or indirect discrimination on the ground of... unfavourable health status or disability...'. Section 158 establishes some obligations on employers, e.g. to create reasonable working conditions for employees with disabilities to perform and retain their jobs (including conditions for gaining or increasing necessary qualifications). Details on how to exercise the aforementioned rights are laid down in specific laws. The most important is Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on employment services, as amended, that states the right to access to employment in Section 14. Access to this right is guaranteed without any limitation in accordance with the principle of equal treatment. The prohibition of discrimination 'against somebody on the grounds of...disability...' is established. Despite the guarantee of the constitutional right to work, the right to free choice of work and the right to access to employment, Act No. 365/2004 Coll. (Anti-discrimination Act), as amended, sets up in Section 8 the so-called 'admissible unequal/different/distinct treatment' (prípustné rozdielne zaobchádzanie), relating specifically to persons with disabilities in the field of employment. In case when the nature of job requires special health abilities of a person or special conditions for performing this job, the distinct treatment is not considered discrimination on the grounds of disability.
F2. Public employment services
Employment counselling and support services for disabled people are provided by the public employment services, specifically by the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (COLSAF), and its regional branches – offices of labour, social affairs and family. The legal basis of counselling and information services and employment support for disabled people is in Act No. 5 /2004 Coll. on Employment Services. The information on these services is available on the website of COLSAF. For the purpose of providing employment related counselling and support services to disabled people, Offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family must keep a separate administrative register of disabled people, which in addition to basic identification data, covers information on the degree of disability and a reduced work capacity, including the legal justification for the status of a disabled person. However, there are no incentives for people with disabilities to be registered as job-seekers, and there are still many barriers which may discourage people with disabilities from registering as job-seekers, such as:
- Services of supported employment, i. e. individualised assistance and counselling in finding and retaining a job, are underdeveloped within the public employment services. In fact, improvements in the area of personalised counselling services have been regularly recommended to Slovakia also within the European Semester (more information is provided in the ANED Country Report, 2016/2017).
- The job offers at the offices, which are considered to be one of the most important instruments in job-seeking, are rarely available in accessible formats, as also shown in the report of the Ombudsman on the Accessibility of the Offices (2015). As a result, their funding and activities seem unsustainable.
F3. Workplace adaptations
Among the latest developments, in March 2018, the Parliament has approved Act No. 112/2018 Col. on Social Economy and Social Enterprises. The Act recognises several types of social enterprises, including 'integrative social enterprise', i. e. an enterprise which employs at least 30 % of disadvantaged employees, among which are also persons with disabilities, and meets other legal requirements. Integrative social enterprise is eligible to apply for 'the investment aid' (including for workplace adaptations), as well as 'compensation aid' (as wage subsidies). The Act has been in force since May 2018. Furthermore, Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on Employment Services sets out several specific measures to support employment of people with disabilities, including employment in sheltered workshops and sheltered workplaces.
As set out in that Act, sheltered workshop is such arrangement, in which more than 50% of all employees are employees with disabilities. A sheltered workplace is typically where there is only one employee with disability, or more than one but in total less than 50% of all employees. After a transitional period, sheltered workshop or workplace cannot have at the same time status of integrative social enterprise. In 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recommended Slovakia in its Concluding Observations to adopt an action plan on the transition from sheltered workshops to the open labour market. In 2017, av proposal of the Action Plan was developed by the working group, which was set up by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family. The Action Plan proposal contains fourteen measures to support the transition to the labour market. However, it has not yet been approved.
In order to adapt the workplace, the employer may, according to the Act on Employment Services, apply for the allowance to set up a sheltered workshop or a sheltered workplace (§ 56 of the Act on Employment Services). The allowance can be used to cover the employer’s expenses related to establishing a sheltered workshop or to accommodate a sheltered workplace and to equip them with machines, facilities and work aids required for the job to be performed by a disabled employee. It is also intended to create a workplace as such, not just to adapt it in relation to one’s disability.
The employer who receives the allowance is obliged to keep the established workshop or workplace for at least two years. If a working contract with a person with disability for some reason terminates, the employer is required to recruit another person with disability for this workplace.
Workplace adaptations are also covered in the self-employment allowance under Article 57 of Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on Employment Services, as amended. A person who receives this allowance is obliged to run the business for at least two years. Finally, the work assistance allowance (príspevok na činnosť pracovného asistenta) is a kind of adaptation via provision of assistance in working activities. Both sheltered workshops / workplaces, and employers in the open labour market are eligible for this allowance.
F4. Financial incentives
Promoting the employment of people with disabilities in the Slovak Republic is implemented via: A) specific allowances to support employment of people with disabilities; B) enforcement of employment quotas; and C) reduced social contributions.
A. Specific allowances to support employment of people with disabilities include allowances for workplace adaptations (see section F3), as well as two other allowances. For those employers who do not have a status of sheltered workshop or sheltered workplace, there has been an allowance to maintain employees with disabilities at work (príspevok na udržanie osoby so zdravotným postihnutím v zamestnaní) aimed at supporting the employment in the open labour market. The allowance is a kind of a wage subsidy, and it may cover mandatory social contributions paid by an employer. However, its provision is limited only to those employers whose total number of employees with disabilities comprises at least 25% of all employees.
The allowance partially covers operating expenses of sheltered workshops and sheltered workplaces, and to some extent substitutes wage subsidies. The eligible operating expenses may include gas and electricity charges, rental expenses, transportation of materials and products of the workshop, social contributions paid by employer for persons with disabilities and other administrative expenses. All these are eligible rather than refunded expenses, since the maximum support per one workplace is between 2.5- and 5-times of total labour costs (calculated on the monthly national average wage) (in 2018, between EUR 3,126 and EUR 6,253 per year).
B. Enforcement of employment quotas: according to Article 63 Act No. 5/2004 Coll. on Employment Services, employers with more than 20 employees have an obligation to meet 3.2% employment target for disabled employees. Employers who do not directly employ persons with disabilities may perform this obligation in the following ways: by awarding the contract to the company that employs disabled employees or by awarding the contract to disabled persons who are self-employed; by buying the products or the services of sheltered workshops or sheltered workplaces, of disabled persons who are self-employed or of employers who employ disabled employees. Employers who have not met the legal requirements must pay a financial penalty in the range of 0.9 times the total labour cost of the monthly national average wage for each employee with a disability who is missing to meet the mandatory quota that comprised EUR 1,125 in 2018. Whereas in 2012, 57.3% of employers met the quota by employing persons with disabilities, in 2016, their share has increased to 66.76%.
C. Reduced social contributions: there are reduced mandatory health and social contributions for both, employers and employees with disabilities. Health contributions are reduced to a half.
G. Statistics and data collection
G1. Official research
In Slovakia, the co-ordination of disability related data collection at the national level remains limited, also because there are different definitions of disability for different purposes (education, invalidity pension, long-term care services, compensatory aids). Usually the data cannot be disaggregated by various types of disabilities. Though, there are several partial data sets, produced by the following institutions: Social Insurance Agency (data on disability pensions recipients); Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family and District Offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (data on cash benefits recipients and employment services recipients with disabilities); Self-governing regional authorities, towns and municipalities (data on social services users with disabilities); Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (data on employment of people with disabilities within the Labour Force Survey); The Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic and its organisations (data on education of children with special educational needs). Besides that, the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic has been committed in the National Disability Program for 2014-2020 (measure 4.17.1) to prepare the summarising document 'Selected indicators related to the social situation of persons with disabilities' (Vybrané indikátory sociálnej situácie osôb so zdravotným postihnutím; Štatistický úrad SR). The document is supposed to be published annually to support the evaluation of the National Disability Programme. Its first issue was prepared in October 2015. In 2016, the Institute for Labour and Family Research as a body established by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family prepared an analytical report based on these data: 'Developments of the social situation of persons with disabilities and their families'. The report consists of four chapters dealing with the issues such as health, social protection, education and employment of persons with disabilities.
Similarly, there is a lack of coordination in the research field. There are several universities, public and private research institutions and civic society organisations conducting disability-related research and ad-hoc surveys, but without any common planning. One of the public institutions focusing on disability research is the Institute for Labour and Family Research. The Institute has carried out several disability-related research projects focused on the employment of persons with disabilities, living conditions of families with disabled members, work and care (work life balance), social rights and quality of life of informal carers and long term care for care dependent persons, since 2004. By conducting this research, an intensive co-operation with civic society (mainly with the Slovak Disability Council) has been established.
Some disability-related research projects were also conducted by the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights as a national equality body. The Centre publishes annually a Report on the observance of human rights and the principle of equal treatment in the Slovak Republic. The Report focuses primarily on the adherence to human and social rights for various target groups, including persons with disabilities, in the context of anti-discrimination commitments in various living areas (e.g. in employment, education).
A complex research into the psychological aspects of children and youth development has been conducted by the Research Institute for Child Psychology and Pathopsychology. A key area of this research, among others, is the mental development of children with disabilities. A research on physical accessibility has been conducted by CEDA (Centre of Design for All), based at the Faculty of Architecture, Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava.
Finally, since September 2015, Act No. 176/2015 Coll. on the Commissioner for Children and the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has come into force. The Commissioners are independent bodies whose task is to protect the human rights of these people which are guaranteed to them by international treaties legally binding for the Slovak Republic (such as the UN CRPD). In its first annual report to the Parliament, the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has also presented her findings related to the monitoring of the human rights of persons with disabilities in penal institutions.
G2. Census data
The Census is one of the most important and most extensive surveys, carried out every ten years in the Slovak Republic. The latest Census took place in the period between 13 May and 6 June 2011. Persons with disabilities have not specifically been reported in the Census and the questionnaire did not include a specific question concerning health or disability.
G3. Labour Force Survey
The Labour Force Survey has been carried out in Slovakia since 1994 by the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. Persons with disabilities are identified based upon the respondents' response to the question concerning the granted status of disabled persons (question number 77 of the questionnaire type B for the members of the household). LFS results are processed quarterly and are published on the website of the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. Results for people with disabilities are published annually, in the report 'Selected indicators related to the social situation of persons with disabilities' (Vybrané indikátory sociálnej situácie osôb so zdravotným postihnutím). LFS provides employment and unemployment data for disabled people, disaggregated by gender. In 2011 the LFS Ad-hoc module on Employment of Disabled People was implemented.
G4. Disability equality indicators
There is currently no system of indicators based on public data sources to monitor equality for persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to social services, transport and social inclusion. The development of equality indicators for people with disabilities is the responsibility of several ministries: the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Construction. The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family presently monitors the indicators of employment and unemployment for people with disabilities and publishes them in the annual Report on the Social Situation of the Population in the Slovak Republic.
H. Awareness and external action
H1. Awareness raising programs
Several measures regarding awareness raising have been proposed in the National Disability Programme for 2014-2020:
Measure 4.1.1: to raise awareness about the UN CRPD
Actions to be taken: to prepare information activities, presentations, conferences and campaigns focused on the UN CRPD; to ensure the distribution of information brochures to public administration authorities and to the general public; to raise awareness among representatives of all ministries; to develop cooperation among authorities to identify the target groups of the campaigns; and to present the best practice examples.
Responsible authority: The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the Government Office of the SR, other ministries responsible, regional governments and NGOs.
Implementation date: continuously.
Measure 4.1.2: To raise awareness among professionals and the general public about the lives, rights and abilities of persons with disabilities
Actions to be taken: to raise public awareness via the public TV programmes, the Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS)
Responsible authority: RTVS in cooperation with the Council of RTVS.
Implementation date: continuously.
Proposer of the measure: Slovak Disability Council.
Measure 4.1.4: To raise awareness among professionals and general public about lives, rights and abilities of persons with disabilities via the libraries of the Ministry of Culture of the SR as an established authority. The goal is to eliminate barriers, to ensure equality of opportunities and to avoid discrimination and all forms of violence in this context.
Actions to be taken: to provide the acquisitions of the disability topic study literature and elaborate a literature search on this topic. To organise discussions, exhibitions and other events raising public awareness about the lives of persons with disabilities, e.g. on the occasion of the International Day of People with Disability.
Responsible authority: The Ministry of Culture of the SR in cooperation with the libraries established by the Ministry of Culture and regional government.
Implementation date: continuously.
Measure 4.1.5: To ensure accessibility of towns and villages for persons with disabilities
Actions to be taken: to award towns and villages that ensure the comprehensive accessibility for persons with disabilities in all areas, including buildings, transportation and information and services.
Responsible authority: Association of Towns and Communities from Slovakia, The Union of Towns and Cities of Slovakia in cooperation with the selected ministries (The Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family; The Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development; The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development).
Implementation date: annually.
Proposer of the measure: The Institute for Labour and Family Research (IVPR).
Several disabled people’s organisations regularly prepare awareness- and fundraising campaigns such as: 'The White Pencil' organised by the Slovak Blind and Partially Sighted Union; 'The Forget-me-not day' by the League for Mental Health, and 'The Blue-sky butterfly' by the Organisation of Muscular Dystrophy in the Slovak Republic.
H2. Training for teachers
At many universities that prepare students for a teaching profession, disability issues are included in the general curriculum via courses such as the Integration of pupils/students with disabilities. There are also study programmes on special pedagogy addressing concrete types of disabilities, i. e. education of pupils with visual impairment, with intellectual disabilities, etc. Further training/lifelong learning for teachers as well as guidelines which support disability awareness of teachers are provided especially by the Slovak Institute of Pedagogy. These programs include training concerning integration of pupils with special needs in regular schools, special pedagogy, school integration, conditions, starting points and basic processes of integration and education towards human rights. The trainers are from different fields (e.g. universities, NGOs, schools).
Furthermore, several e-twinning Professional development workshops have been organised for teachers to promote school inclusion within the Erasmus Plus programme.
The issue of awareness raising in schools is discussed in the National Disability Programme for 2014-2020 in Measure 4.1.3: to focus the school policy and practice on the issues of anti-discrimination, diversity, equal treatment and to implement it into the educational programmes at all levels of educational system.
Action to be taken: To support and implement educational programmes and presentations focused on the issue of disability and respect for human rights.
Responsible authority: Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the relevant public research institutions and regional government.
H3. Training for lawyers
At the majority of universities that prepare legal professionals, disability issues, especially the UNCRPD, are included in the general curriculum via the topics of International law and European law. Further training is provided for judges, prosecutors, officers of justice and other court staff, who are trained in the field of International law (including the UNCRPD), European law, the relationship between international and European law (including regulations and recommendations), the examples of relevant judgements of the European court of human rights and practical and implementation problems, in connection with practice of the courts. Disabled peoples organisations are not involved in the process of further education.
The training of lawyers has also been addressed by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in its Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of Slovakia which were adopted at its 15th session (29 March - 21 April 2016) in a following way:
„42. The Committee further recommends that the State party provide mandatory training to all personnel in the justice, administration and law enforcement sectors on:
(a) The rights enshrined in the Convention, including participation on an equal basis with others regardless of legal capacity status;
(b) Procedural accommodation in the legal process;
(c) Reasonable accommodation;
(d) The combating of harmful gender and disability stereotypes."
H4. Training for doctors
Training for doctors is provided only in the frame of their postgraduate study (called specialised division), especially for general practitioners and assessment doctors. An important part of their training is information concerning Slovak and international legislation in the field of disability issues, including the UN CRPD. Organisations of persons with disabilities are not involved as trainers. The Medical Faculty in Bratislava within its Institute of social medicine provides training for doctors with different specialisation in the area of disability issues.
Likewise, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has also emphasised the need to promote training on disability related issues for medical staff, in the Concluding Observations on the Initial Report of Slovakia which were adopted at the 15th session (29 March - 21 April 2016) in a following way: "70. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party provide training for all health and social care personnel on the rights enshrined in the Convention."
H5. Training for engineers
Students of architecture and urban planning at the Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava get knowledge and skills about the principles of barrier-free universal design and requirements on their safe and barrier-free usage within the specific courses, e.g. 'Residential Buildings'; 'Public Buildings'.
In June 2007, CEDA (Centre of Design for All) was founded at the same faculty. Its main mission is to:
- Participate in relevant standardisation work with national, European and international standard bodies;
- Provide research by collaborating, conducting and commissioning national and international projects and by active attending conferences, seminars and workshops;
- Encourage compliance with national and international standards in Design for All;
- Ensure the development of appropriate Design for All - Universal Design courses in cooperation with academic, professional and relevant state bodies;
- Promote the introduction and integration of the principles of Universal Design in university curricula at each level of study (bachelor, master and postgraduate level);
- Offer a professional consultancy to the people in difficulties caused by built-environment barriers;
- Promote understanding of Design for All by organizing the courses for professionals involved in accomplishment of built-environment.
H6. International development aid
Priorities in the international co-operation are set out in the National Disability Programme for 2014-2020. The Slovak Republic and the member states should enforce the rights of persons with disabilities in the external activities. Slovakia will support the initiatives to tackle disability issues in the dialogue with non-member states. Where it is appropriate, the disability issues and the UN Convention implementation will be included. The Akkra commitments on the effective help will be taken into account. The commitment on the disability issues will be supported at the international forums (UN, Council of Europe, OECD). Likewise, Slovakia has adopted the 'Medium-Term Strategy for Development Cooperation of the Slovak Republic for 2014-2018' as a key document which sets out priorities in Slovak development aid for a given period.