Under Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), disabled people have a right to employment on an equal basis with others in an inclusive and accessible labour market. However, globally and in Ireland, disabled people are employed at much lower rates than people without disabilities. The Irish Government has previously set targets to increase the employment levels of disabled people as part of its broader equality goals. With a new National Disability Strategy being developed in 2024, it is timely to consider the setting of new targets. This paper offers guidance on how these could be set.

The paper looks at past national employment targets for disabled people in Ireland as set out in various national strategies and plans. It describes employment trends and current levels of employment among people with and without disabilities, both in Ireland and in comparable countries. It reviews how best to measure employment levels of people with disabilities and the various sources of data available to monitor progress towards targets. The paper also examines employment quota schemes in other countries aimed at increasing employment levels of disabled people. The paper concludes in a series of recommendations on the setting of new national employment targets for disabled people in Ireland. These include that new targets should focus both on increasing the employment rate of disabled people and reducing the gap in employment rates between people with and without disabilities (the ‘disability employment gap’). It is also recommended that separate targets be set for the population with a disability ‘to some extent’ and the population with a disability ‘to a great extent’.

Discussion paper on National Employment Targets



172.501 KB