In Nicaragua, workers with disability have the legal right to work and receive equal pay for equal work, just like any other worker. The country has taken steps to ensure that labor laws and policies are inclusive of all workers, including those with disabilities.
The Political Constitution of Nicaragua establishes in its article 80 that “work is a right and a social responsibility. The work of Nicaraguans is the fundamental means of meeting the needs of society and the individual and is a source of the nation´s wealth and prosperity. The State shall seek the full and productive occupation of all Nicaraguans, under conditions guaranteeing the fundamental rights of the person”.
In connection with the provision above mentioned, Law 763 “Law of rights of people with disability” was approved. This law granted, among other, certain labor rights to people with disability, such as the right to work in equal conditions (article 34) and no discrimination for the condition of disability.
Additionally, Law 763, articles 36 establishes that the Labor Ministry will ensure that all national, municipal, state and private institutions and companies that have fifty or more workers include at least two percent of people with disabilities in their respective payrolls, and that in the case of companies with a payroll of more than ten workers and less than fifty, at least one person with a disability must be employed.
In practice, the Labor Ministry has started to request the companies to comply with the provision established by the article 36 of Law 763, and therefore, all the employers have to hire people with disability to be incorporated in their companies.
In line with this, the article 25 of the Regulations of the Law 763 establishes that any employer whether a public or private entity must take the following actions:
1. Adjust its recruitment criteria and requirements by avoiding any cause related to people´s disability;
2. Promote inclusive attitudes towards people with disabilities among workers;
3. Adapt the environment and working conditions based on the needs of persons with disabilities. With respect to this action, the article 39, number 10, of the Tax Concertation Law of Nicaragua establishes that job adaptations for people with disabilities are tax deductible.
4. When an active duty worker acquires a disability, he or she will be kept in the same job he was in, before acquiring the disability or placed in another position according to his or her ability, and a pension will ultimately be granted;
5. Verify that job promotions, relocation and termination of the employment relationship are taken into account by the ability and performance of individuals within the company, without regard to disability-related reasons;
6. Take the necessary measures to eliminate the rules and practices contrary to equal opportunities and the establishment of measures to avoid any form of discrimination on the basis of disability;
7. Develop and promote information activities, awareness-raising campaigns and as many others as are necessary for the promotion of equal opportunities and non- discrimination;
Once the disabled worker is hired by an employer, he/she is entitled to receive all the labor benefits established in the Labor Code of Nicaragua, such as a minimum wage, vacation time, holidays, thirteen-month payment (Aguinaldo), antiquity payment, maternity or paternity allowance.
It is important to mention that, in accordance with the equal rights that workers with disability acquire in the work, they can also be terminated with or without cause, as allowed by the Labor Code of Nicaragua for any employee, provided that such termination is not made as a discriminatory action against the worker with disability.
Finally, we recommend revising the “Guide for the Employment Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities” elaborated by the Republic of Nicaragua as a tool that explains and guides employers, both in the public and private sectors, the process of labor inclusion of persons with disabilities, framed in the social and human duty of the application of the right to work without discrimination.