Draft Public Service Disability Policy Presented
In accordance with its mandate and with the bid to institute disability inclusion and responsiveness, the Public Service Commission, on the 25th January 2023, conducted a consultative workshop at the Rainbow Towers in Harare, where stakeholders gathered to review the draft Public Service Disability Policy. The Policy is intended to help mainstream disability in the Public Sector.
Stakeholders at the workshop included representatives from the Public Service Commission, all Line Ministries, organisations of people with disabilities, Independent Commissions, Apex Council as well as development partners, in particular UNDP & ILO. More than 50 people attended the event.
The Public Service Disability Policy was presented and input made by participants at the workshop. Such input will be considered and co-opted as necessary, as part of the finalisation of the Policy.
The development of the Public Service Disability Policy is in line with the Legislative and Policy Framework in Zimbabwe, which guides that there be inclusion without any discrimination of people with disabilities (PWDs). Section 22 of the Constitution requires all Government institutions to recognise the rights of PWDs and to treat them with respect and dignity. It also provides PWDs should be assisted to achieve their full potential and minimise disadvantages suffered by them, and that there be reasonable accommodation (accessibility of government buildings). Further to that, Section 56 provides for non-discrimination and fair treatment for people with disabilities. The above provisions are also buttressed by both the National Disability Policy (2021) and the Disabled Person Act – Chapter (17:01) Section 8. The United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also promotes the inclusion of persons with disabilities as well as the importance of national development in addressing the rights of PWDs. It also advocates for reasonable accommodation of PWDs
The objectives of the Public Service Disability Policy are as follows:
- To ensure people with disabilities (PWDs) have equal employment opportunities in the Public Service,
- To create an accessible work environment for employees, interns and attaches;
- To facilitate job retention and advancement opportunities for all;
- To facilitate training and development opportunities for all;
- To ensure continuity of members of staff in case they become incapacitated during the course of duty; and
- To ensure continuous sensitisation of employees on disability issues and PWDs.
The scope of the Policy covers, persons who acquire disability during the course of employment, as well as PWDs entering or already in service.
The Policy provides for the mainstreaming of disability in the following areas, among others:
- Communication and Awareness;
- Recruitment and Selections;
- Orientation and Induction;
- Staff Performance and Appraisal;
- Training Opportunities;
- Promotion; and
- Job Retention.
Reasonable accommodation of PWDs in employments is viewed as the prevention of discrimination based on disability by adjusting or changing the following:
- Changing job tasks;
- Improving accessibility of workplace environments;
- Reassigning employees who have acquired a disability;
- Adjusting/ changing computer software and hardware suitable for PWDs;
- Additional/Special training for PWDs;
- Availability of support services; and
- Ensuring there is a budget for PWDs.
The development of the draft Policy follows the undertaking of a Disability Sensitive Baseline Survey in the Public Service, which was meant to inform status of disability in the Public Sector. Following the completion of the Disability Sensitive Baseline Survey, a stakeholder analysis of the results was held in 2022. PSC then developed the draft Public Service Disability Policy using the results from the baseline survey and desk review research on the analysis of regional and international best practices on public sector reform accountability. These activities were intended to gather additional information to be used in strengthening the content of the draft Public Service Disability Policy in all areas.