Since November 18th, 2018, Uruguay has had a Regulation (Law No. 19,691) aiming at allowing people with disabilities to have access to formal employment.
The provision applies to private-sector employers with 25 or more permanent workers (indefinite contract) for any new admission of a member of personnel as of the law’s effective date (November 18th, 2018). Employers must recruit persons with disabilities, as provided in Article 2 of Act No. 18,651, who meet the conditions and suitability for the position on a growing percentage scale that considers the number of their permanent staff.
Even though the calculation to establish the percentage of disabled people to be hired by the employer is verified based on permanent workers, the employer is not obliged to give them a permanent contract, and the regulations empower them to reach an agreement with the disabled worker on any other form of contract.
The regulations also stipulate that the call to apply for the job is to meet certain conditions, such as the number of vacancies in the job offer and the applicant’s qualities. To facilitate the search, the employer can rely on a list of potential applicants who meet the conditions requested through the National Disability Program (PRONADIS) of the Ministry of Social Development.
It is important to bear in mind that a worker who wishes to enjoy benefits under this law and be considered within the disability quota must be registered in the National Register of Disabled People of the National Honorary Disability Commission. Tax exemptions apply only to people who entered the register after the law came into force (November 18th, 2018).
The percentages established by the law between November 18th, 2020, and November 18th, 2021, are as follows:
- Employers with 500 or more workers: 4%.
- Employers with between 150 and 499 workers: 3.5%.
- Employers with between 50 and 149 workers: 3%.
- Employers with between 25 and 49 workers: 2%.
The regulation stipulates that the quota is 4% – in all cases- from November 18th, 2021 onwards.
To access benefits, employers who comply with the law must register, after reporting compliance by the National Labor Inclusion Commission, in the Employers’ Register of the MTSS (Ministry of Labor and Social Security).
Employers who do not wish to register still need to meet the percentages and all aspects determined by the regulations.
Failure to comply with the regulations is sanctioned by the IGTSS (General Labour and Social Security Inspectorate).
There are several associated benefits for the disabled worker, like having the option to apply for work support to be able to perform their tasks effectively and extraordinary sick leave, without pay, for 3 continuous or discontinuous months when this is related to their disability and is independent of the regular sick leave.
As for contributions for the disabled worker’s retirement, the employer must contribute to the BPS (Social Security Bank) gradually according to the following table:
- 25% of the contribution during the first year of employment
- 50% of the contribution during the second year of employment
- 75% of the contribution during the third year of employment
- 100% of the contribution, after three years of employment.
In the event when a worker is entered onto the payroll due to the cessation of another disabled worker, the contribution will be made according to the percentage contributed for the leaving employee, continuing with the scale.
In addition to the benefit of the gradualness of employer pension contributions, companies can benefit from works aiming at adapting work areas and making them more accessible as well as preferential treatment if they meet the quota of disabled workers above the minimum established by law.