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A. UN Convention status
A1. Ratification or conclusion of the UN Convention
Spain signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on 30 March 2007 in New York. The Parliament ratified the Convention on 3 December 2007. It was published on 21 April 2008 (BOE), and the UNCRPD entered into force on 3 May that year.
A2. Ratification or accession to the Optional Protocol
Spain signed the Optional Protocol on 30 March 2007 in New York. The Parliament ratified the Optional Protocol on 3 December 2007. It was published on 21 April 2008 (BOE) and the instrument entered into force on 3 May that year.
A3. Declarations, Reservations and Objections
Spain has not made any Declarations, Reservations or Objections. However, there have been several amendments to the Bill of normative adaptation to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities UNCRPD.
A4. Comprehensive review
On 15 June 2011, the Parliament approved the Bill of Normative Adaptation to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, previously discussed at the 225 plenary session of the Congress of Deputies on 31 March 2011. Moreover, the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI) asked the Autonomous Communities to adapt their legislation to the Convention. CERMI has also developed a study of the impact of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into Law 39/2006 December 14. On August 2011 it was proclaimed Ley 26/2011, de 1 de agosto, de adaptación normativa a la Convención Internacional sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad. (Law 26/2011, of 1 August, of Normative Adaptation to the International Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities).
A5. Focal point
The focal point established for matters relating to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, via the Directorate General for Disability Support Policies. The Commission on Integral Policies on Disabilities was also created in the Congress of Deputies with this purpose.
A6. Coordination mechanism
The government coordination mechanism to protect, promote and monitor compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the National Disability Council (Consejo Nacional de la Discapacidad). This is a consulting body made up equally of representatives of all of the ministries and representatives of persons with disabilities. It was created in 2004 by Royal Decree 1865/2004 (Disability High Level Group Report, 2010, p. 83).The National Disability Council is regulated by Royal Decree 1855/2009. It is under the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, and works in collaboration with associations of people with disabilities and their families for the definition and coordination of social policies.
A7. Independent mechanism
The Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI) is the Spanish umbrella organization representing the interests of more than 3.5 million women and men with disabilities in Spain. The mission of CERMI is to guarantee equal opportunities of women and men with disabilities and to protect their human rights, ensuring they are fully included in society. CERMI is an independent civil society organization.
A8. Official reporting
The initial Spanish state report was due in June 2010 and finalised in May 2010. It was deposited at the UN on 1 July 2010.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities considered the initial report of Spain (CRPD/C/ESP/1) at its 56th and 57th meetings, held on 20 September 2011, and adopted concluding observations at its 62nd meeting, held on 23 September 2011, that constitute a framework to continue with the labour of implementing CRPD in Spain. There is an inter-ministerial work group that was created to draw up an integral study of Spanish law, with the objective of adapting it to the Convention;s provisions. This group was approved by the Council of Ministers on 10 July 2009. It is presided over by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality and includes all the ministries. It is advised by the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI). This work group prepared the first comprehensive report to the UN Convention Committee for submission. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (currently the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality), CERMI and the ONCE Foundation signed a Declaration to support the UNCRPD (Disability High Level Group report, 2010, p. 84). On 30 March 2010 the Ministry of Health and Social Services published a Report on measures to adapt the legislation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
A9. Shadow reporting
No civil society reports were submitted to the UN Committee in parallel to the initial state report or the List of Issues. There is participation of the academic sector through Madrid’s Carlos III University, in the elaboration of reports relative to Spanish legislation that needs to be adapted to the provisions of the UNCRPD. The Human Rights Institute ‘Bartolome de las Casas’, University Carlos III of Madrid, has developed a report on ’The Impact of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Law for Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for People in a situation of dependency (Law 39/2006)’, commissioned by CERMI. There is another report written by an Independent Living Association (SOLCOM) that examines UNCRPD violations.
B. General legal framework
B1. Anti-discrimination legislation
In Spanish Law, the evolution in the treatment of disability towards a social model had already occurred before the passing and the coming into effect on 3 May 2008 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This evolution started with the passing of the important Law 13/1982, of 7 April, of Social Integration of Disabled Persons (LISMI) and culminated with the passing of Law 51/2003, of 2 December, of equal opportunities, non- discrimination and universal accessibility of people with disability (LIONDAU) and its implementing rules. Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution states that 'Spanish people are equal before the law without any discrimination on grounds of birth, race, sex, religion, or any other condition or personal or social circumstance'. Articles 38, 49 and 50 of Law 13/1982 on Social Integration of Disabled People use the word discrimination but do not include relevant measures. In Spain, non-discrimination measures were promoted with the passing of the Law 51/2003, 2 December, on equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility of people with disability (LIONDAU) and its implementing rules. On August 2011, Law 26/2011, of 1 August, proclaimed the Normative Adaptation to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (de adaptación normativa a la Convención Internacional sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad), that affected Law 51/2003.
In the field of employment, Spain has the Royal Legislative Decree 2/2015, of 23 October, which approves the consolidated text of the Workers' Statute Act. This regulation includes the prohibition of discrimination in labour matters.
B2. Recognition of legal capacity
In Spain, there is a traditional guardianship orientation, which runs counter Article 12 of the UN Convention, concerning equal recognition before the law and support to exercise legal capacity. There is also a lack of state regulation concerning support for decision-making. Supports for self-determination mainly come from organisations of people with disabilities. In Spain, a procedure of legal incapacitation begins with a written request by the family of the mentally disabled person to a judge (Court of 1st Instance), which states that he/she is incapable and needs the designation of a guardian. The assistance of a lawyer and a solicitor is required for starting this procedure. That letter must be forwarded to the disabled individual who may answer the letter in 20 days. After 20 days without a reply, a barrister is appointed to represent the person who is allegedly incapable. The trial period, where it must be proven that the disabled person is incapable, begins at this point. This is done in various ways, namely through: a) hearing the relatives and/or other close family members who are involved, examining documentary evidence, medical reports, psychological assessments, etc.; b) forensic examination usually performed by medical specialists in neurology or psychiatry or by the coroner’s court; c) consideration of the person presumed incapable by the court itself. The decision of legal incapacitation can be either total, where people deemed incapable cannot manage their property or themselves, or in part, where there is an inability to perform certain acts without the assistance of another person. The decision also determines who will be the guardian - the parents, if an adult with disabilities still lives with them, or another appointed person.
According to J.J. Soto, in his article on Legal capacity and disability in the light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 12 of the CRPD establishes the principle that all persons with disabilities, like other citizens, have the right to have their status and capacity recognized in the legal system. Yet, the CERMI (The Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities) made multiple statements saying that "Spain does not have a support system according to the UN Convention"; "There is an abuse of the total substitution system"; "Spain lacks a decision support system that promotes autonomy in the exercise of rights"; "The safeguards required by the Convention are not guaranteed in the Spanish legislation "; "Adaptation to the Convention requires substantial changes in the Spanish regulation of the capacity to act of persons with disabilities".
Recently, several regulations have been adapted to recognize the rights of persons with disabilities according to the Convention, namely:
- Law 4/2017, of June 28, an amendment of Law 15/2015, of July 2, of the Voluntary Jurisdiction, which recognizes the right of persons with disability to marry under equal conditions.
- Organic Law 1/2017, of December 13, an amendment of Organic Law 5/1995, of May 22, of the Jury Court, that guarantees the participation of people with disabilities without exclusions.
On November 29, 2018, the Plenary of the General Council of the Judiciary has approved a report that endorses the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Justice to reform civil and procedural legislation on disability issues. The purpose is to adapt this legislation to the rights set forth in the UN Convention, and more specifically in its Article 12, which states that persons with disabilities have full legal capacity, and obliges States to implement appropriate measures that allow people with disability, having access to the support necessary in each case to fully exercise their legal capacity.
B3. Accessibility of voting and elections
Article 3 of Organic Law 5/1985 of 19 June on the General Electoral Regime establishes that the following persons do not have the right to vote: a) those sentenced by judgement to the deprivation of the right to vote for time for endorsement of sentence; b) those declared incapable by virtue of a final judgement, provided that their inability to exercise the right to vote is expressly stated; and c) those admitted to a psychiatric hospital with judicial authorisation, during the period of their internment, provided that the judge expressly stated the inability to exercise the right to vote. In all other situations, there is the right to vote.
Despite the above, it should be noted that in Spain many people with intellectual disabilities, as well as people with Down Syndrome, are deprived of their right to vote because they were legally declared incapable (see the document: The International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. From rights to facts (2015)).
The Organic Law 2/2011 of 28 January, amending the Organic Law 5/1985 of 19 June, on the General Electoral Regime establishes, at point Thirty-One (Paragraph 2 of Article 87) that ‘the Government (with a report from the Central Electoral Board) will regulate the voting procedure for the blind or visually impaired to enable them to exercise their right to vote, ensuring the secrecy of the vote, which shall, in any case, apply to the elections to the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, the elections to the European Parliament and the assumptions of referendum’. People with disabilities who are judged to lack legal capacity may not vote, in accordance with the Law on the General Electoral Regime (Article 3.1 b)-c)). Limitations on voting rights are also enshrined in the Spanish Constitution.
On 24 October 2013, the Constitutional Committee unanimously approved an initiative urging the Government to prepare a report within six months, with specific proposals for adaptation of Spanish legislation to the UN CRPD, ratified by Spain in 2008, among which is a reform of the Electoral reform Law so that all persons with disabilities can vote. It is currently estimated that there are about 80,000 people with intellectual disabilities who cannot vote.
Recently, the right to vote of all persons with disabilities has been recognized. The Organic Law 2/2018, of December 5, amending the Organic Law 5/1985, of June 19, on the General Electoral Regime, guarantees the right of suffrage for all persons with disabilities. It has thus been resolved a violation of the rights established both in Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution, which guarantees equal rights for all, and Article 12 of the UN Convention, which also in Article 29 urges the States to guarantee the right to vote on equal terms for all persons with disabilities.
B4. Official recognition of sign language
In Spain, Law 27/2007 of 23 October recognizes Spanish sign languages and regulates the means of support for oral communication of the deaf, hearing impaired and deaf-blind people. The dissemination of the UNCRPD has been a priority in the actions undertaken in Spain and the Convention has been published and distributed in different accessible formats. The Real Patronato sobre Discapacidad and the CNSE Foundation have collaborated on the publication of Spanish and Catalan sign language formats, as a mechanism of promoting the UNCRPD.
It is also important to mention the Royal Decree 921/2010, of 16 July, amending the Statute of the Royal Patronage on Disability approved by Royal Decree 946/2001 of 3 August that regulates the Centre for Language Normalisation of Spanish Sign Language.
Other regulations at the national level are:
- Law 26/2011 of 1 August on the adaptation of Spanish legislation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Order ECD / 1542/2015 of 21 July establishing the curriculum at higher education institutions corresponding to the degree of Higher Technician in Communicative Mediation.
B5. National disability strategy and action plan
The Third National Action Plan for People with Disabilities 2009–2012 set out an agenda and principles for action. It included a special call for equal opportunities for young people, and specific measures to promote social participation and social leadership, as well as education, sport and leisure.
The Spanish Disability Strategy 2012-2020 is based on the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the Europe 2020 Strategy. It aims to improve the welfare of people with disabilities and includes the basic lines of public policy to be developed in the years of its application.
The Royal Legislative Decree 1/2013, of 29 November, approves the revised text of the General Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their social inclusion. It is an application of the second final provision of Law 26/2011 of 1 August on Normative Adaptation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. According to this new normative, the Government will draw up every four years a National Plan.
The Spanish Strategy Action Plan on Disability 2014-2020 that was approved by the Council of Ministers on 12 September 2014, contains several target areas among which are employment, education, etc. The three priorities of the Strategic Plan are: (1) promoting employment and combatting wage discrimination. This axis includes measures in education, namely to develop specific educational programmes supporting and reinforcing vulnerable students (e.g. immigrants, Roma, disabled or suffering violence environments); (2) conciliation and responsibility; and (3) combatting violence against women.
The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2013-2016 includes 53 measures dedicated to promoting social and labour inclusion through employment of the most vulnerable people, with special attention to the families with children at risk.
The Action Plan 2014-2017 for Equality between men and women in the information society argues that although the digital access gap and the use of computers and the Internet in recent years tends to close, women continue to generally use computers less frequent than men.
The II National Strategic Plan for Children and Adolescents 2013-2016, objective four relates to protection and social inclusion, namely through strengthening social intervention and care of children and adolescents at risk, vulnerable, disabled and/or socially excluded, establishing shared quality and practices susceptible to evaluation.
The Integral Plan of Family Support 2015-2017 includes measures to support large families, single parents and families with people with disabilities.
C1. Transport accessibility
Law 51/2003 of 2 December 2003 on equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and universal accessibility for persons with disabilities, introduces the principle of ’universal accessibility‘ in law. In Article 7 of Law 51/2003, ‘reasonable accommodation’ is defined as ’measures to adapt the physical, social, and attitudinal environment to the specific needs of persons with disabilities which effectively and practically, without involving a disproportionate burden, facilitate accessibility or participation for a person with a disability on the same terms as other citizens‘. The material scope of this Law is telecommunications, built-up public spaces and buildings, transport, goods and services available to the public, and relations with public administration. In Spain, the Autonomous Regions have exclusive responsibility (i.e. they legislate and execute legislation) in the field of accessibility on their territories. Royal Decree 1544/2007 of 23 November that regulates the basic conditions of accessibility and non-discrimination for access and use of transport for people with disabilities is the specific legislation in this area. The regulations referring to vehicles and also buildings and facilities involved in transport activity are to be found in this Decree. Spain implemented the National Accessibility Plan 2004-2012 that targeted to consolidate a ‘Design for All’ (universal design) model, aiming to introduce accessibility in public infrastructure, to create a regulatory system for the promotion of accessibility, to adapt environments, products and services to 'Design for All' criteria, and to promote accessibility in new technologies. In August 2011, Law 26/2011 of 1 August on Normative Adaptation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed that introduced several amendments into Law 51/2003. Thus, the fifth additional provision with the following wording was added: 'Fifth additional provision. Assessment of accessibility in State-owned infrastructure'. Projects of general interest of transportation infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports and ports, promoted by the General Administration of the State, will incorporate accessibility assessment that will examine alternatives and determine the technical solutions needed to ensure universal design and non-discrimination for all citizens with disabilities.
Law 38/2015 on the Rail sector was adopted on 29 September 2015, which regulates the reform of rail transport and includes, among its measures, the targets to improve the quality and accessibility. It states that the travel agencies must facilitate information in appropriate, accessible and understandable formats. The rail sector should also ensure that the services are provided in accordance with the rules governing the basic conditions of accessibility and non-discrimination for access and use of rail transport. Failure to comply with the accessibility is considered a very serious offense.
C2. Built environment accessibility
Law 51/2003 of 2 December 2003 on Equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and universal accessibility for persons with disabilities has introduced the principle of 'universal accessibility'. In Article 7 of this Law 'reasonable accommodation' is defined as 'measures to adapt the physical, social, and attitudinal environment to the specific needs of persons with disabilities which effectively and practically, without involving a disproportionate burden, facilitate accessibility or participation for a person with disability on the same terms as for other citizens'. The material scope of this Law is telecommunications, built-up public spaces and buildings, transport, goods and services available to the public, and relations with public administration.
Royal Decree 505/2007 of 20 April approves the basic conditions of accessibility and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities in access and use of urban public spaces and buildings, and sets out accessibility and non-discrimination standards in public spaces and infrastructures. Law 51/2003 provides that new goods and services must comply with the accessibility conditions before 2011 if they are public, and before 2021 if they are private. In this sense, newly developed public spaces and housing ought to comply with the accessibility norms before 2011. In August 2011, Law 26/2011 of 1 August, on the Normative Adaptation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed affecting Law 51/2003. In relation to accessibility, the essential element for the full realisation of the rights of persons with disabilities is the modification of the Horizontal Property Law. In the amended legislation, paragraph 2 of Article 10 of Law 49/1960 of 21 July on Horizontal Property, now states: "2.[…] the community of dwellers , at the request of the owners in whose appartments people with disabilities or persons over seventy years of age live, work or perform voluntary services, , will be obliged to make appropriate adaptations so that the common parts of the building can be used, or mechanical and electronic devices are installed that favour communication with the external environment. The total cost of these adaptations must not exceed twelve months of common expenses". The fifth additional provision with the following wording was also added: 'Assessment of accessibility in State-owned infrastructures'. Therefore, projects of general interest of transportation infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports and ports, promoted by the General Administration of the State, will incorporate an accessibility assessment that will examine alternatives and will determine the technical solutions needed to ensure universal accessibility and non-discrimination for all citizens with disabilities. More recently, Law 8/2013 of 26 June, on Rehabilitation, regeneration and urban reconstruction was adopted. In addition, each Autonomous Community has developed their own laws.
Most of Spaniards live in multi-unit housing or apartment buildings, so the previously mentioned laws are applicable to these living arrangements, given that they are applicable to both public and private properties. These apartments may be owned by those who live in them, or maybe rented. In any case, the owner or the landlord is responsible for meeting the accessibility requirements of the building. As mentioned earlier, the funding support for different adaptations and removal of barriers can be requested by disabled people to adapt their houses, or by a Community of owners if additional adaptations (e.g. elevators, ramps, etc.) are required to the building.
C3. ICT and Web accessibility
Law 51/2003 recommends that the Government in the two-year interval, after its entry into force, establishes some basic conditions of accessibility and non-discrimination for the access to and the use of technologies, products and services related to the information society and the media. Royal Decree 1494/2007 of 12 November approves the regulation on basic conditions for access of disabled people to technologies, products and services related to information society and the media.
Law 34/2002 of 11 July on the Information Society and e-Commerce Services, in its fifth additional provision, obliges the public administration to adopt the necessary measures so that the information available on their respective Internet websites can be accessible to the elderly and to disabled people.
Law 26/2011 of 1 August on Normative Adaptation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, includes normative adaptation concerning Services of the Information Society and E-Commerce, with the following wording: “Web pages that serve as a support or channel to online social networks, developed by entities whose annual operations turnover, calculated pursuant to the value added tax regulations, exceeds EUR 6,101,121.04, must satisfy from 31 December 2012, as a minimum, the average level of the generally recognised criteria of content accessibility.”
UNE 139803: 2012. Accessibility Requirements for web content is a Spanish standard approved as of July 2012 that establishes accessibility requirements for web content.
The Action Plan 2014-2017 for Equality between men and women in the Information society argues that although the digital access gap and the use of computers and the Internet in recent years tends to close, women continue to generally use ICT less frequently than men do. Considering this, the Action Plan includes among its objectives the goals of promoting the inclusion, literacy and training in new ICT occupations, which also concerns persons with disabilities Spain also signed the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled on 16 July 2015.
Royal Legislative Decree 1/2013 of 29 November in Article 24 refers to the basic conditions of accessibility and non-discrimination in the area of products and services related to the information society and social media. Article 28 of this Decree stipulates that within two years after this law enters into force, the Government must carry out comprehensive studies on accessibility of those environments or systems that are considered most relevant from the point of view of non-discrimination and universal accessibility. Article 29 refers to Basic accessibility and non-discrimination conditions for the access and use of goods and services available to the public. This law repeals Law 49/2007 of December 26, which establishes the system of infractions and sanctions in matters of equality of opportunity, non-discrimination and universal accessibility of persons with disabilities.
Law 19/2013 of 9 December on Transparency, access to public information and good governance, in its Article 5 specifies that all information shall be comprehensible, easily accessible and free of charge, and shall be available to persons with disabilities in appropriate formats, in accordance with the principle of universal accessibility and design for all.
Organic Law 8/2013 of 9 December on the Improvement of the education quality establishes that the widespread incorporation of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into the education system, shall take into account the principles of design for all and universal accessibility, to allow the individualization of education and adaptation to each student's needs.
Royal Decree 1112/2018 on accessibility of websites and applications for mobile devices of the public sector, which came into force on 20 September 2018, transposes the European Directive 2016/2012 and requires that all websites and native apps of the Public Administration or those that receive public funding are made accessible.
D. Independent living
D1. Choice of living arrangements
The right to choose where and with whom to live requires physical conditions of the homes that make it possible. Most of Spaniards live in multi-unit housing or apartment buildings, and there are several laws applicable to these living arrangements, both public and private properties. The owner or the landlord is responsible for meeting the requirements for an accessible building. There is funding available for different adaptations and the removal of architectural barriers that can be requested by disabled people to adapt their houses, or by a Community of dwellers if additional adaptations (e.g. elevators, ramps, etc.) are required. Each autonomous community has own accessibility laws that contain general principles, objectives and definitions on what accessible housing is. The technical norms that determine how accessibility should be understood in different communities are regulated by national laws (Observatory of Universal Accessibility in housing in Spain 2013; 24). The National Statistics Institute (INE) considers a building accessible when a person in a wheelchair can access it from the street without any help of another person (Observatory of Universal Accessibility in housing in Spain 2013, page 30). The main national regulations on accessibility are Law 39/2006 of 14 December on Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for Dependent Persons and Law 51/2003 (LIONDAU). Royal Decree 233/2013, of April 5, regulates the State Plan 2013-2016 for the promotion of housing rental, building rehabilitation, regeneration and urban reconstruction. This Plan indicates that subsidies will be provided for the implementation of different programmes. Most recently, the State Housing Plan for 2018-2021 was introduced by the Royal Decree 106/2018, of 9 March. This Plan includes support for home renting and purchasing aimed at people with disabilities, young people, seniors and large families.
Still, in Spain, segregated residential options continue to be the main option for people with the most severe intellectual disabilities, and public administration organisations spend most resources on these. However, there are choices for disabled people to live independently in their own homes and in the community, resulting from the passing of Law 39/2006, of 14 December, on the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for Dependent Persons, and Law 51/2003 of 2 December on Equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and universal accessibility for persons with disabilities. However, there are no structured policies promoting independent living that follow the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Only some groups of people with disabilities and some disability associations are playing a role in promoting independent living. In addition, there are important differences among Autonomous Communities in applying new Acts and in developing new regulations to facilitate independent living.
Law 39/2006 can be considered a significant new proposal for future policies to support people living in the community rather than in institutions as it regulates the basic conditions that should guarantee equality in the promotion of personal autonomy and care for dependent persons, by creating a System for Autonomy and Care for Dependency (SAAD). With the SAAD, all elderly or disabled people, who cannot fend for themselves, will be attended to by the government ensuring access to public social services and economic performance more suited to their needs. Nevertheless, people with mental health conditions may be deprived of their liberty and (placed in an institution based upon a legal decision.
On 29 November 2018, the Plenary of the General Council of the Judiciary has approved a report that endorses the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Justice to reform civil and procedural legislation on disability issues. The purpose is to adapt this legislation to the rights set forth in the UN Convention and, more specifically, in Article 12, which states that persons with disabilities have full legal capacity and obliges the State to implement appropriate measures that allow people with disabilities, having access to the support necessary in each case, to fully exercise their legal capacity. It is expected that this draft law will have positive consequences for the right to choose with whom and where to live.
According to the document published by the State Observatory of Disability on the Institutionalisation of people with disabilities in Spain (2015), the institutionalisation of people with disabilities is small in relative terms, as less than 7% of the population with disabilities reside in centres. It is, however, a considerable figure in absolute terms, of more than 300,000 people. The population with disabilities residing in these centres is mostly composed of people with intellectual disabilities and/or mental illness.
Thus, in Spain, segregated residential options continue to be the main option for people with the most severe disabilities, and public administration organisations spend most resources on these, but there are choices for disabled people to live independently in their own homes and in the community resulted from the passing of Law 39/2006 of 14 December on the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for Dependent Persons, and Law 51/2003 of 2 December, on Equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and universal accessibility for persons with disabilities. Both Laws encourage people with disabilities to live in their community.
D3. Quality of social services
The quality of the social services provided to people with disabilities in Spain is based on: (1) the compliance with the quality standards concerning housing; and (2) the quality of life experienced by people with disabilities in this regard.
On the compliance with the quality standards on housing, the Autonomous Communities or the competent Administration fund the centres that provide services to people in situation of dependency. Similarly, private entities will be funded for each of the services that they provide. Quality requirements and standards are established in the are as of materials and equipment and human resources.
On the quality of life experienced by people with disabilities, a study by Huete and colleagues (2015) evidences that people with disabilities face additional expenditures on the acquisition of goods and general services (such as transportation), or on goods and services specifically related to disability, such as technical assistance and support products, home adaptations to improve accessibility, or personal assistance. However, the average income of people with disabilities is often below the average for the whole population.
General plans such as the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2013-2016, the Strategic Plan for Equal Opportunities 2014-2016 and the Spanish Disability Strategy 2012-2020 have the advantage of increasing synergies between policies. In many Plans, disability is still included as cross-variable, regardless of whether a programme is intended for children, the elderly, young people, unemployed, etc. The inclusion of this perspective is beneficial. However, this should be followed by performance indicators that include the variable disabilities in their measures to effectively assess whether the policies are following the precepts of equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility. At the same time, the excessively large number of programmes and policies for each stakeholder (i.e. groups at risk of exclusion) can hinder the achievement of results, creating duplication in some cases and, in others, gaps. A management or coordinating unit to follow the advances set in each strategy, plan, goal, etc. should be established. Therefore, there are still tensions between the goals of equality of opportunity, non-discrimination, universal accessibility and financial and structural constraints in respect to employment, pensions, and socials services.
D4. Provision of assistive devices at home
Royal Decree 233/2013 of 5 April that regulates the State Plan 2013-2016 for the Promotion of housing rental, building rehabilitation, and regeneration and urban reconstruction provides for subsidies to make adaptations to the buildings that meet certain conditions, and are directed to their conservation, quality improvement and sustainability and include:
- the installation of elevators, escalators, ramps or other accessibility devices, including those adapted to the needs of persons with sensory disabilities;
- the installation or endowment of support products such as cranes or similar devices that allow access and use by persons with disabilities to common elements of the building, such as gardens, sports areas, swimming pools;
- the installation of information or warning elements such as light or sound signals that allow orientation in the use of stairs and lifts.
- the installation of electronic communication elements or devices between the homes and the exterior, such as video door phones and the like.
These rules / requirements apply to the private sector and to social housing as well.
Support for assistive devices and adaptations is regulated at the level of the Autonomous Communities and there are significant differences between them. There are also financial limits for the different technical aids, and disabled people must co-fund these. Financial limits for the equipment and adaptations are determined by each Autonomous Community. Each Autonomous Community publishes yearly information on technical aids or adaptations, giving the requirements and maximum amounts payable per type of product, for example, the amount for acquisition of a vehicle and for its adaptation, for the removal of barriers in vehicles, for home adaptations, and for acquisition of hearing aids, prescription glasses and technical aids. Some requirements for eligibility are that a person must have a certified disability, be under 65 years of age, and have income within certain limits. Law 39/2006 (Article 22) includes a personal alert system as a specific communication service for the promotion of personal autonomy and for attention and care in emergency situations.
D5. Availability of personal assistance schemes
The Personal Assistant is defined as ‘the worker who performs a service that enables people with disabilities to lead an independent life, while facilitating their self-determination, personal autonomy and decision-making’. In short, it is a new service alternative, centred on the person, which allows a person with disability to live an autonomous and active life.
Since the introduction in 2007 of the Law on the Promotion of personal autonomy and care for people in a situation of dependency (Law 39/2006 of 14 December), the financial income of disabled people has become an important political issue. According to Article 2 of this Law, ‘personal assistance’ consists of a service provided by a personal assistant who assists the dependent person to perform his/her everyday tasks, with the aim of promoting his/her independent living and promoting and reinforcing personal autonomy. Nevertheless, availability of support (of types and resources) differs between the Autonomous Communities (which are 17 in Spain). Eligibility criteria are based on medical assessment of the level of dependence. As indicated by Plena Inclusion, the Law does not mention people with intellectual disabilities when it talks about the Personal Assistant.
According to the report on the Situation of Personal Assistance (PA) in Spain (PREDIF, 2015), people with functional limitations demonstrate low awareness about available personal assistance. Firstly, regarding the term itself, they are not aware of the existence of the concept of 'personal assistance' and of the professionals who may provide it. At the social level, this situation has caused a delay in its development, since there was no widespread demand and no basic social need generated around personal assistance. At the policy level, there are also many difficulties that cause that the PA service has not been consolidated yet.
Among many other difficulties posed by the state regulatory framework for access to the provision of Personal Assistance, and, in particular, Law 39/2006 of 14 December on the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for Dependent Persons, it should be noted that despite being recognised as the main legal framework for promoting personal autonomy, this Law enhances access to this service, principally, in the education and labour market. However, at the level of the Autonomous Communities, it is very difficult to know in depth the legal regime of personal assistance, due to the extensive normative provisions in each of them. This 'tangle' normative base has the perverse effect of deterring the interested party in the service, by making it difficult for them to know clearly the scope and economic impact of this service.
There are also differences in the procedure for recognition and assignment of this benefit, as well as in additional documentation required. In this sense, there are significant territorial inequalities.
At economic level, there are also difficulties that cause low incidence in the application and access to PA service. It is also detected that the amounts established by the LAAD 2006 are insufficient, not only to carry out an independent living, but to even cover the necessities of basic everyday life. The benefit received does not cover the basic expenses derived from the costs associated with the worker's labour rights, which nevertheless require them to be paid. Nor can we ignore the incompatibility between the person's need to cover 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and the workers' rights to rest.
Since 2015, the PA Working Group has been set up within the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI). Its mission is to promote and speed up the development and access to Personal Assistance within the framework of the System for Autonomy and Care for Dependency (SAAD). This system provides a basic training of 50 hours, through which the future personal assistant can acquire general knowledge about personal assistance, the Independent Living movement and the disability. The distinguishing aspect of this benefit is that most of the training has to be given by the beneficiary of the service to his personal assistant, according to his needs and preferences. In short, the person with a disability assumes an active role in making decisions.
D6. Income maintenance
Law 13/1982 on the Social Integration of the Disabled People (LISMI) establishes social and economic benefits for persons with disabilities in the fields of social benefits, social security, education, work and housing. There are two types of pensions in Spain for disabled people: Contributory and Non-Contributory. The first one relates to the pensioner’s wages and number of years worked. The Non-Contributory pension is for disabled people who have not worked; it ensures medical care and social services. The criteria for eligibility are: being over 18 and below 65 years of age; being a Spanish resident or to have lived in Spain for the last five years; having an average of disability over 65%; and finally there is an income criterion. Other specific groups to consider with regard to additional improvements in the lowest pensions are: pensions of the Obligatory Old-Age and Disability Insurance (SOVI), which is being phased out; social welfare pensions for the sick and elderly; and those under the repealed Law on the Social Integration of the Disabled.
D7. Additional costs
Law 13/1982 on Social Integration of Disabled People (LISMI) establishes social and economic benefits for persons with disabilities in the fields of social benefits, social security, education, work and housing. Additional benefits for disabled people are the Minimum Income Guarantee Subsidy, the Personal Assistant Subsidy, the Mobility and Transport Subsidy, and Pharmacy and Medical Care. As a consequence of Law 51/2003 and Law 39/2006, more services for disabled people and their families are available. It has had a significant impact on service delivery, using personal assistance budgets, direct payments, allowances to individuals or their care providers, respite care, living arrangements and work rehabilitation services.
D8. Retirement income
Retirement income for persons with disabilities is managed in the same way as for other people: if they have been working they get the same money. Royal Decree 1851/2009 of 4 December established the earlier retirement of workers with disabilities equal to or above 45% from 65 to 58 years of age. In the past, there was the Obligatory Old-Age and Disability Insurance (SOVI), but it is no longer available, although there are people who are still receiving it.
E1. Special schools
Equal treatment and non-discrimination have been consolidated as basic principles of education in Spain. The Organic Law on Education (Law 2/2006, of 3 May) states that 'families may apply for admission at the schools to which they wish to send their children' (Art. 86.3), but also providing the possibility of setting up ’committees or other bodies to guarantee admission‘. The Law on the Social Integration of Disabled People attempts to integrate people with disabilities into ’the ordinary system of general education, receiving, in this case, the support and resource programmes that the Law recognizes‘.
Yet, a special education system (or 'segregated specific schools') is provided that can be either temporary or permanent for those disabled children for whom attendance in the ordinary educational system is impossible. According to the Spanish Independent Living Forum, the legal and policy framework is developed in different ways in the 17 Autonomous Communities or regions, and the country still has 20% of children with disabilities educated in segregated schools.
Special education (i.e. segregated schools) in Spain is provided in centres that provide education for students who cannot enter an inclusive school framework. Only two educational levels are carried out in special education centres: basic compulsory education (6 to 16 years of age) and complementary vocational training or programmes for transition to adult life (16 to 19 years of age). Students at these institutions may be enrolled up to the maximum age of 20 (on an exceptional basis up to the age of 21). In special education classrooms, the ratio is 10-12 students with physical or serious hearing disabilities per teacher; 8-12 students with physical disabilities per teacher, 6-8 students with multiple disabilities; and 3-5 students with autistic or severe personality problems.
E2. Mainstream schools
Disabled people are recognised in national laws, policies and strategies as having equal rights to their peers in schools. However, more legislation has been developed for compulsory educational levels than for higher education or adult education levels. Organic Law 2/2006 on Education provides for, at national level, the legal framework to provide and assure the right to education. The Autonomous Communities regulate the adaptation of this Law to their territories. There are differences among different 17 autonomous communities of the country. Financial and personal supports are generally available throughout Spain in primary and secondary levels of education, but they are lacking in the transition to adult life.
Compulsory education includes a broad number of support measures in integrated settings for disabled students, such as: conditions for school building facilities to facilitate access, movement and communication, in accordance with accessibility legislation; special curriculum access adaptations or curricular adaptations such as modifications in the objectives, contents, methodology, activities and assessment criteria and procedures; additional support provided by specialist teachers, including physiotherapists, psychologists, speech therapists, teaching assistants, and special education teachers who go to students’ homes or hospitals; special teaching methods and materials, including Braille, tactile sensory stimulation and space-time orientation, sign language and alternative communication systems, and didactic resources; reduced class sizes in mainstream classrooms, the maximum number of students per classroom is 25, and the maximum number of disabled students per classroom is two (a local education commission decides in which mainstream school pupils are located); special arrangements for evaluation or progress through education, in which the use of diverse assessment tools and procedures is recommended, such as observation, questionnaires and interviews).
Organic Law 8/2013 of 9 December on the Improvement of Education Quality (LOMCE) establishes several measures aimed at meeting the educational needs of students with disabilities in mainstream schools.
During 2016-2017, according to the statistical data of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, the percentage of students with special educational needs due to disability in non-university education was 2.7% of all students. Except for students who are in special education, the percentage of integrated students in preschool education was 1.0%; in primary education - 3.0%; in secondary education - 3.1%, and in high school - 0.6%. In addition, in intermediate vocational training the percentage of integrated students was 1.5%; in high vocational education degree it was 0.3%, and on initial vocational qualification programmes it was 6.0%. These figures indicate that a significant number of students with disabilities are not included or may not finish their studies.
The most recent published statistics corresponds to the academic year 2016-2017. According to the summary note published by the Ministry of Education, in the academic year 2016/17, there were 217,275 students with special education needs associated with a disability, of whom 35,745 (16.5%) attended Special Education and 181,530 (83.5%) were integrated into ordinary education centres.
E3. Sign language and Braille in school
Children with visual or hearing impairments have a right to but do not learn Braille or sign language in schools. Blind children usually learn Braille with the ONCE (National Organisation of Blind People) teachers, and deaf children often learn sign language in other associations. ONCE is a non-profit corporate organisation that focuses its activities on the improvement of the quality of life of blind people or people with severe visual impairment all over Spain. In mainstream schools, additional support is provided by teachers who are specialised in special education and/or in visual and/or hearing and speech difficulties. The legislation establishes the existence of preferential school education centres for some disabilities, such as for people with visual or hearing disabilities, generalized developmental disorders or motor disabilities. In these centres there is a higher percentage of certain specialists (for example, sign language interpreters) to serve these students better.
Some examples of good practices in inclusive education for students with disabilities have been developed in Spanish schools and these were published in the report by Save the Children Foundation in September 2013.
E4. Vocational training
Legislation in Spain states that the general objectives for students with special educational needs must be those generally established for all students, with the necessary curricular adaptations. For those unable to achieve the objectives, public administrations promote training programmes adapted to the students’ specific needs, aiming at facilitating their social and employment inclusion. The major policy changes that have occurred in recent years relate to:
- the Organic Law 2/2006 on Education that introduces the new Initial Professional Qualification Programmes (PCPI), formerly called Social Guarantee Programmes (PGS);
- the Royal Decree 1538/2006, which established the general organisation of vocational training within the education system;
- the vocational training for employment (Royal Decree 395/2007) that establishes the current model for continuing training in Spain, which is called ’continuing vocational education and training‘ (CVET).
The Autonomous Communities have the responsibility to draw up, approve and execute different training courses. The legislation establishes that students who do not achieve the objectives of compulsory secondary education are entitled to enroll in specific social guarantee programmes. They may enroll either in the general social guarantee programmes, under the integrative framework, or in social guarantee programmes specifically designed for them. Programmes for transition to adult life or of complementary vocational training aim fundamentally at developing abilities linked to professional occupations, personal independence and social integration.
The Organic Law on Education also provides a measure for positive action (Art. 75), stating that ‘The educational authorities shall establish a reserve quota of places in vocational training for pupils with disabilities’. Concerning most recent Educational policies, it is possible to mention Organic Law 8/2013 of 9 December 2013 on the Improvement of Education Quality (LOMCE) addresses the main problems identified in the Spanish education system and promotes the education quality and excellence to improve student outcomes and to transform education for overcoming the challenges faced by Spain in Europe 2020. It is mandatory that assessments are tailored to the needs of students with special educational needs and support for these students is provided. The main objectives of the reform and related issues identified in the initial part of this report is to reduce the rate of early school leaving, flexible itineraries for students, promote vocational training, improve employability and boost the entrepreneurial spirit among the students. Regarding training policies promoted by other ministries and targeting groups at risk of exclusion, there are several initiatives worth mentioning:
- Law 30/2015 of 9 September, whereby the vocational training system for use in the workplace has four strategic objectives to: (1) guarantee the right to training for workers, employed and unemployed, in particular the most vulnerable; (2) ensure the effective contribution of training to the competitiveness of enterprises; (3) strengthen collective bargaining on the adequacy of the training to the requirements of the productive system, and (4) increase the efficiency and transparency in the management of public resources. It establishes inter alia that vocational training for employment may be given in person, by teletraining, platforms and content accessible to people with disabilities, or in a mixed form combining any of the above methods.
- Spanish Strategy of Activation for Employment 2014-2016 which six principal areas focused on: (1) orientation, (2) training; (3) employment opportunities, special consideration to the situation of persons with disabilities; (4) equal opportunities in access to employment; (5) business; (6) Improving the institutional framework of the National Employment System.
- Annual Plan for Employment Policy 2014 that included five strategic objectives aiming to: (1) improve the employability of young people and implement the National Plan of Implementation of the National System of Youth Guarantee in Spain; (2) promote the employability of other groups particularly affected by the unemployment: people over 55 years, long-term unemployed and beneficiaries; (3) improve the quality of vocational training for employment; (4) strengthen the combination of active and passive employment policies; and (5) promote entrepreneurship.
- National Implementation Plan of the National System of Youth Guarantee that targets young people between 16 and 29 years of age not in education, employment or training (NEET), who can receive a job offer or training after completing their studies.
- Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Strategy 2013-2016 that aimed at youth under 30, especially the unemployed, and contained about 100 measures to adapt education and training to the labour market needs. In the case of people with disabilities with a recognized degree of disability above 33%, the age limit was set at 35 years old.
- Integral Plan of Family Support 2015-2017 included measures to support large families, single parents and families with people disabilities. It help families with fewer resources, to meet costs associated with education (e.g. acquisition of text books) and certain services such as phone service, transportation, etc. It included measures such as provision of scholarships and study grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, with special attention to families in difficult economic situation and for students with specific educational needs.
- 'Empléate: Single Portal of Employment and Self Employment' has been created that includes four employment services: 1) a professional orientation (from the identification of the professional profile of the worker to the advice on market trends); 2) placement services and advice to companies (to ensure the best matching between vacancies and applications for employment); 3) service training and qualifications for employment (which include, among others, account management training of workers) and 4) counseling service for self-employment and entrepreneurship (to promote entrepreneurship and boost local economic development).
Several additional and specific measures have been developed, aiming at reinforcing a more market-oriented work, including vocational training:
- Royal Decree 127/2014, which regulates specific aspects of Vocational Training and approves basic professional titles
- Royal Decree 751/2014, which approves the Spanish Strategy for Employment Activation for 2014-2016
- Royal Decree 7/2015, which approves the Common Services Catalogue of the National Employment System
- Royal Decree 817/2014, which establishes specific aspects of professional qualifications
Recently, the main significant reform introduced in vocational education and training is the implementation of Basic Vocational Training, as established in Royal Decree 127/2014. Article 13 of that Royal Decree states that vocational training must be organised according to the principle of attention to diversity and must meet the specific educational needs and the rights for inclusive education. The fourth additional disposition of that Royal Decree establishes that Educational Administrations of the autonomous communities may develop adapted vocational training activities aimed at special education students. Basic Vocational training offers two modalities: (1) a general one, aimed at those students without disabilities and those with special education needs who are integrated in ordinary schools and can achieve the requirements for graduating as secondary school students; (2) specific (adapted) programmes aimed at students with special education needs who cannot graduate from secondary school. Classes have a reduced student-teacher ratio according to the type of disability: pervasive developmental disorders (N=5), intellectual disability (N=8), severe behavioural disorder (N=5), multiple disability (N=6). Detailed statistics on the number of students with disabilities educated in the general or specific programmes can be obtained through the Ministry of Education web page.
E5. Higher education
Public institutions such as universities must comply with Law 51/2003, of 2 December (LIONDAU), on Equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility of people with disability (beyond compulsory schooling age). The LIONDAU guarantees equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for all. In addition, Universities have their own normative documents such as: the Organic Law of Universities 6/2001 of 21 December on Universities; the Organic Law of Universities 4/2007 of 12 April that guarantees equality of opportunities for people with disabilities; and the Royal Decree 1393/2007 of 29 October that organises university studies and includes measures to guarantee equal access to disabled students. It also establishes the possibility of making curricular adaptations, although many of these adjustments are at the discretion of each professor.
At university level, there are Disabled Student Offices, where a disability specialist gives support to disabled students. In some cases, there are volunteers or student grants to help with these issues. The practical assistance each student can get depends on the university, Disability Service Office and the student’s needs. Assistance can include support during tests, curricular adaptations, exemption from paying tuition fees, grants, note takers, support products, volunteering support, Braille transcription, sign language interpreter, etc. Education is free of charge in Spain up to the secondary level, but disabled students also have free tuition fees at public universities. Generally, public universities provide much better support to students with disabilities than private ones.
The studies conducted by the Universia Foundation in 2013 and 2014 show that the percentage of students with disabilities in undergraduate studies was just about 1.3%. The percentage of students studying at Master and PhD was even less than 1.3%, which suggests that not all students with disabilities, who access tertiary education, finish their Master or PhD programmes of study. More recent data for the academic year 2015/16 showed that the total percentage of students with disabilities was 1.7%; the percentage of these students in Master programmes was 1.2%, and the percentage of disabled students in PhD programmes was 0.9%.
F1. Non-discrimination in employment
National legislation applies the principle of non-discrimination to all sectors of public and private employment and occupation, including contract work, self-employment and holding statutory office. Art. 16.2 of the Workers’ Statute provides that (public and private) employment services should guarantee ’the principle of equal treatment in access to employment, and may not make any discrimination on grounds of origin, including racial or ethnic origin, gender, age, (...) religion or beliefs, (...) sexual orientation, (...) or disability’. Accordingly, any job advertisement that does not respect this precept constitutes direct discrimination, even when an employer advertises a vacancy directly without using an employment service. The Workers’ Statute has been amended several times (in 1983, 1984 and, most importantly, in 1994 - the year of the labour legislation reform), to continue adapting labour regulations to changes in the production system and to strengthen the position of the most representative trade unions in the Spanish industrial relations system. Law 62/2003 (Art.28.1.c) defines ‘indirect discrimination’ as ’where a legal or administrative provision, a clause of a collective agreement or contract, an individual agreement or a unilateral decision, though apparently neutral, would put a person of a certain racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation at a particular disadvantage in relation to others, provided that such provision is not objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary’. Some Articles of the Workers’ Statute have been updated according to this 62/2003 Law. For example, Art.4 on Labour Rights, section 2c, states that workers shall not be discriminated against based on a disability (Workers’ Statute). Additional articles have been reworded after passing Law 3/2007 of 22 March on the Equality between women and men. For instance, Art.4.2e states that privacy and dignity must be preserved, as well as the protection against mobbing based on characteristics such as disability.
F2. Public employment services
Current arrangements for providing employment advice and support services to disabled people in mainstream employment depend on the Public Service of State Employment (SEPE) previously known as the INEM (National Institute on Employment). This agency comes under the Ministry of Work and Immigration. Each Autonomous Community (AC) has its own Public Service of Employment, given that competences in employment, education, health, etc. have been transferred to different ACs.
F3. Workplace adaptations
Law 13/1982 states that ’the employer is obliged to adopt appropriate measures, according to the needs of each specific situation in order to enable disabled people to have access to employment, to do a job, to advance in a profession and to undergo training, unless such measures would entail an excessive burden for the employer’ (Art. 37 section 2). Law 31/1995 of November 8 on the Prevention of Occupational Risks states in Art. 25 that the employer will specifically guarantee the protection of workers who, by their own personal characteristics or biological state, including those who have a physical, psychological or sensorial disability, are especially sensitive to the risks arising from work. To this end, the employer shall take such aspects into account in the risk assessments and shall take the necessary preventive and protective measures accordingly.
Transposing Directive 2000/78 into the national law, the duty to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled people has been implemented both in general terms (in Law 51/2003 on Equal opportunities for disabled people) and in employment (in Law 13/1982 on the Social integration of disabled people). Law 49/2007 (on offences and sanctions in the field of equality for disabled people) establishes sanctions in the event of a breach of the duty to provide reasonable accommodation. In Art. 7 of Law 51/2003, ‘reasonable accommodation’ is defined as ’measures to adapt the physical, social, and attitudinal environment to the specific needs of persons with disabilities which effectively and practically, without involving a disproportionate burden, facilitate accessibility or participation for a person with a disability on the same terms as for other citizens‘. The material scope of Law 51/2003 is telecommunications, built-up public spaces and buildings, transport, goods and services available to the public, and relations with public administration. The definition of ’disproportionate burden‘ is the same for employment and areas outside employment. Art. 27.2 of Law 62/2003 provides that measures for the application of the principle of equal treatment under it apply to every person, both in the public and the private sector. Although Directive 2000/78 only refers to the field of employment, discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation is prohibited in all areas, public and private. This applies not only to the fields mentioned in Directive 2000/43 (social protection, social advantages, education, access to and supply of goods and services available to the public, including housing), but also to other possible fields, even if there is not an explicit anti-discrimination provision, because of the general and direct applicability of Article 14 of the Constitution.
Some specific additional measures on accessibility for use in the workplace have been developed through Law 30/2015 of 9 September, which regulates the vocational training system. This Law has four strategic objectives: (1) guarantee the right to training of workers, employed and unemployed, in particular the most vulnerable; (2) make an effective contribution of training to the competitiveness of enterprises; (3) strengthen collective bargaining on the adequacy of the training to the requirements of the productive system, and (4) establish efficiency and transparency in the management of public resources. It establishes, inter alia, that vocational training for employment may be given in person, by teletraining and content accessible to people with disabilities or in a mixed form by combining the previous two methods.
F4. Financial incentives
There are several financial incentives for the employment of disabled workers in the open labour market (e.g. wage subsidies, enforcement of employment quotas, tax concessions). Given that competencies for employment are transferred to different Autonomous Communities, each region has its own incentives. For example, by accessing online the Public Service of Employment of Castilla y León, it is possible to access information on different contracts that may be signed with workers with disabilities. Ten different types of contracts have been identified, each of them with different financial incentives: 1) contract for the training of people with disabilities; 2) contract for practices for people with disabilities; 3) temporary replacement of people with disabilities; 4) permanent contract for people with disabilities; 5) temporary contract for people with disabilities; 6) transforming a temporary contract in the open market into a permanent contract for workers with disabilities; 7) contract for persons with disabilities in Special Employment Centres (Sheltered Workshops); 8) transforming a temporary contract in Special Employment Centres into a permanent contract for workers with disabilities; 9) permanent contract for people with disabilities coming from Enclaves or Mobile Work Crews; 10) application of incentives for permanent contracts or conversion of temporary contracts into permanent contracts for disabled workers, for adapting job positions or for providing means of protection.
Currently in Spain there are several incentives to contract workers with disabilities. These incentives depend on the type of contract (permanent contract; temporary contract; training contract; internship contract; interim contract). There are also incentives for hiring in cooperatives and labour societies, and for recruitment in labour enclaves. The modalities, incentives, bonuses, etc. are different depending on the type of contract (there are seven different types). There are also incentives for youth entrepreneurs; specific additional incentives for hiring disabled workers in some autonomous communities in Spain, as well as tax incentives to hire disabled workers for employers, the employee, and the self-employed. In most instances, if the employee has a disability, the bonuses are higher. Additional measures relate to increasing the length of the contract, etc.
Several Plans, programmes, and laws have been developed in response to the economic crisis and the need for protection of specially disadvantaged groups.
First, The Spanish Strategy for Employment Activation 2014-2016 embraced all the public employment service strategies and the annual employment policy plans and annual applications of this strategy.
Second, the Annual Plan for Employment Policy 2014 included five strategic objectives: (1) improve the employability of young people and to implement the National Plan of Implementation of the National System of Youth Guarantee in Spain; (2) promote the employability of other groups particularly affected by unemployment: over the age of 55, the long-term unemployed and beneficiaries; (3) improve the quality of vocational training for employment; (4) strengthen the linkage of active and passive employment policies; and (5) promote entrepreneurship.
Third, the Spanish Strategy of Corporate Social Responsibility 2014-2020 aims at business, government and other organisations to move towards a society and a more competitive, productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. It includes various measures to promote the inclusion of groups at risk.
Several specific laws have also been developed. For example, Law 11/2013 of 26 July on measures to support entrepreneurship and to stimulate growth and job creation. Likewise, Law 14/2013 of 27 September supporting entrepreneurs and their internationalization establishes, among other general measures, reductions and rebates of contributions to Social Security for people with disabilities who are self-employed. More recently, Law 31/2015 of 9 September, amending and updating the legislation on self-employment and building measures and promotion of self-employment and social economy, includes measures such as: (1) extending the possibility of public contracts with companies of insertion, in addition to the existing Special Employment Centres; (2) setting quota reductions and bonuses to Social Security for People with disabilities registered as self-employed; (3) meeting a minimum percentage of quota to participate in contracts to Special Employment Centres and integration companies; (4) allowing self-employed workers with disabilities not to lose the right to enjoy their benefits as self-employers as a result of employing other workers.
G. Statistics and data collection
G1. Official research
The State Observatory of Disability (Observatorio Estatal de la Discapacidad) is the main official service that compiles information on News, Statistics, Documents, Case Law, Bibliography, Legislation, Calls, Events, Aids, Directory of organizations, Collective agreements, and Links. This Observatory comes under the Ministry of Health, Social Affairs, and Equality. Most recent statistics and data on Employment can be obtained from the Public Service of State Employment (SEPE) (e.g. Observatorio de las Ocupaciones, vol. 2, 2011). National reports from Verdugo, Jenaro & Campo as of 2009 offer detailed information about statistics on Employment, Social Inclusion, and education. The National Statistics Institute (INE) has been carrying out a macro survey on disabilities since 1986, published in 2008 (Survey on Disabilities, Personal Autonomy and Dependent Situations). This is based on Spain’s ratification of the UNCRPD, related to Article 31.
G2. Census data
The government (Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales -IMSERSO) is updating the Census to include disabled people.
The Disability Surveys are statistical operations in the form of macro-surveys, which respond to the demand for this information on behalf of the Public Administrations and of numerous users, particularly non-governmental organisations. These surveys cover a good part of the information needs regarding disability, dependency, the population ageing and the state of health of the population resident in Spain.
Three macro-surveys were conducted: the Survey on Disabilities, Impairment and Handicaps in 1986; the Survey on Disabilities, Impairment and Health Status in 1999; and the Survey on Disability, Personal Autonomy and Dependency Situations in 2008. The methodologies follow the World Health Organisation recommendations, and in particular, the international classifications in force during the year when the survey is carried out.
G3. Labour Force Survey
There is a national Labour Force Survey and disabled people are identified in the collection of data. Thus, it is possible to compare the situation of employed/unemployed and active/inactive people in both the general and the disabled population. Spain also took part in the 2012 European LFS ad-hoc module on disability. Most recent statistical data on employment can be obtained from the Public Service of State Employment (SEPE) (Observatorio de las Ocupaciones).
G4. Disability equality indicators
Equality is a core and cross-sectional principle in Spanish policies. However, there are no specific disability equality indicators in every domain (e.g. communication, health, housing, independent living, justice system, etc.) to measure progress towards disability equality. The main indicators on equality are related to employment and there are monthly reports available on employment that include disabled people. The Government is initiating a project to include the disability indicators.
In 2014, there was still a general lack of indicators that disaggregated findings by disability. Yet, several reports (e.g. Olivenza Reports) show the existence of inequalities associated to disability.
The Spanish Disability Strategy (2012-2020), in the section on combatting social exclusion and poverty, includes two strategic measures aiming to promote:
- specific measures to ensure compliance with the general reduction targets of people below the poverty line included in the National Reform Programme 2011 of Spain.
- full development of personal autonomy goals of the Law on Personal Autonomy and Care for Dependency.
In December 2018, the Senate approved the inclusion of the disability indicator in statistics on victims of gender-based violence.
H. Awareness and external action
H1. Awareness raising programs
In Spain, there is a significant number of Observatories on Equality. These observatories are specialised bodies on equality of gender and equal opportunities whose main objective is to advise, analyse, evaluate and disseminate information concerning cross-cutting policies on gender equality that are being carried out in different Ministerial departments, autonomous bodies and other entities both public and private. They analyse and offer suggestions on awareness raising programmes and campaigns and emphasise the need for specific attention to specially vulnerable subgroups such as disabled women.
One of the strategic objectives of the Equal Opportunities Plan 2008-2011 developed by The Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equity was to consolidate, promote and disseminate the work done by these Observatories. In its Eighth Strategic Goal, this Plan states that specific attention should be given to girls and women in situations of increased vulnerability who suffer from double discrimination because of, among other things, having a disability (p.41). Among the measures included in the Ninth Strategic Goal, on Education, Objective 13 aims to incorporate a gender perspective in the process of evaluating the education system, by disaggregating the data by sex and crossing them with relevant variables such as disability in order to highlight the situation of these students (p. 48). Additional measures include: making accessible awareness - raising programmes and campaigns, especially those related to health issues and prevention of gender violence, so it can be easily understood by women with visual-auditory disabilities (p. 86); and conducting studies on gender violence against most vulnerable women (disabled women, etc.) (p.93); promotion of innovative projects that ensure the right to comprehensive social assistance. However, the Plan does not specify how this will be done and who will do it.
The Action Plan of the Spanish Disability Strategy 2014-2020 in the area of Education (from primary to tertiary levels) establishes as Objective 2: “To promote awareness of disability in the curriculum” by implementing the following measures:
- promoting 'universal accessibility and design for all ' in various curricula;
- including the elements relating to equal opportunities and rights of people with disabilities in the curriculum;
- developing training plans on disabilities and including disability issues in tests to access to public education administration.
The Objective 3 that aims ”to promote knowledge and awareness of the educational community to the needs of people with disabilities”, calls to:
- Enhance teacher training in understanding the needs of people with disabilities.
- Promote collaboration between the educational community and disability associations.
H2. Training for teachers
There are no generalised or compulsory disability awareness/equality issues training as part of initial teacher training programmes. Disabled people’s organisations are not systematically involved as trainers.
Some recently developed initiatives have been undertaken by the CRUE (Crue Universidades Españolas), a non-profit association founded in 1994 and formed by a total of 76 Spanish universities: 50 public and 26 private universities. CRUE has published a series of documents on Curricular Training in Design for All. This line of work started in 2006 with the White Paper on Design for All at the University, prepared by the Design Coordinator for All in Spain, with the collaboration of the ONCE Foundation and the Spanish Government Agency for the management programs and benefits for the elderly and dependent (IMSERSO). In order to give continuity to this project called Curricular Training in Design for All, in 2017 two publications were developed applied to the degrees of Tourism and Education, including in this last one the Grades of Preschool Education, Primary Education and Social Education, as well such as the Master's Degree in Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate and Vocational Training and Languages.
H3. Training for lawyers
There is no general or compulsory disability awareness/equality training as part of the training programmes for lawyers. Disabled people’s organisations are not systematically involved as trainers.
The CRUE has published a document on Curricular Training in Design for All in law studies.
H4. Training for doctors
There is no general or compulsory disability awareness/equality training as part of training programmes for doctors. Disabled people's organisations are not systematically involved as trainers. Recently, the CRUE has published a document on Curricular Training in Design for all people in Medical studies, as well as in Nursing studies.
H5. Training for engineers
There is no general or compulsory disability awareness/equality training as part of training programmes for engineers and designers. Disabled people’s organisations are not systematically involved as trainers.
H6. International development aid
Disability mainstreaming is identified in official policies or programmes of international development aid. More specifically, the Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, developed a Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation for 2009-2012, which is a framework document that established the objectives, criteria, and geographic priorities for cooperative development. The Millennium Declaration and other agreements derived from the United Nations are the principal references. Disability is mentioned in different sections of this Plan, prohibiting discrimination with a ‘special attention’ to vulnerable groups, supporting access to basic education and health, job creation and entrepreneurial skills, and noting the disadvantaged position of disabled women. In addition, The Strategic Plan on Equal Opportunities 2008-2011 included Axis 11 on Foreign policy and development cooperation (Política exterior y de cooperación para el desarrollo). Non-discrimination principles based on gender were included in this Plan but there was no specific reference to disability mainstreaming. Most recently, the Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2013-2016 emphasized the need to provide greater protection in social services for children, the elderly, people with disabilities and people in situations of dependency.
The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) continues to work for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the agenda of international cooperation for development. Some of its more recent initiatives are:
- in September 2018 AECID participated in the launch of the global study "We Decide" in Mercosur. The initiative was called: "We decide: Young people with disabilities: for equal rights and a life without violence"
- Guide for the inclusion of disability in cooperation for development. Situation Status in the AECID and Orientations (2018).