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Do not use term ‘unfit for work’ in reports for persons with disabilities, entities told

New decision comes in accordance with provisions of the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities No. 20 of the Year 2017

By JT - May 03,2021 - Last updated at May 03,2021

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AMMAN — The Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (HCD) and the Ministry of Health have announced the issuance of new instructions by the Minister of Health to the provincial medical committees and all relevant medical entities under the mandate of the ministry that are concerned with issuing medical reports for persons with disabilities not to include the term "unfit for work” in these reports for employment purposes.

This provision comes in accordance with the provisions of the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities No. 20 of the Year 2017, which stipulates in its Article 5, paragraph (b), that: “A disability in itself shall not prevent considering the person as being “fit” for employment, learning and practising all rights and freedoms determined according to the provisions of this law or any other legislation, as long as he or she meets the requirements stipulated in said legislation”, according to a HCD statement. 

It also comes in line with the provisions of Article 45 of the Civil Service statute that entails providing the necessary reasonable accommodations to enable the employees with disabilities to carry out the job duties according to a technical report issued by the Equal Opportunities Committee at the HCD.

For decades, the medical committees have appended their medical reports to the phrase "unfit for work" based on the provisions of the 1977 Medical Committees statute and its amendments, the latter is a de facto discriminatory practice despite de jure legal rules which consider the “health capability” provisions in this statute superseded by law No. 20 for the year 2017 on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, according to the statement.

Commenting on this procedure, HCD Secretary General, Muhannad Al Azzeh, affirmed that this step will end a long era of exclusion and discrimination enshrined in the provisions of the medical committees statute over a period of 44 years without any justification or rationale.

The criteria for the so-called "ability to work" are now identified by access arrangements, reasonable accommodation, assistive technology and the cultural and attitudinal milieu, he said.

Azzeh added that civilised societies do not evaluate any individual on the basis of his or her physical or psychological status.

Azzeh said that this procedure will facilitate the enrollment of candidates with disabilities in the recruitment process, which will become free from any arguments or justifications to deprive those candidates of their right to work by the departments that used to refuse them based on the conclusion of the medical reports which always indicate that “the candidate is incapable to work due to the disability”. 

He confirmed that the HCD in coordination with the Health Ministry also sent a request to obtain an official legal opinion from the legislative bureau in order to support this practice and make it part of the system, according to the statement.

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