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Organization Name

ISS A/S

Case Story Title

Employment on equal terms - disabled employees at ISS Spain

Case Story Date

2002/10/16

Issues Addressed

  • Principle 6 - Eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation

Case Story Category

Partnership Project

Countries of Impact

Spain

Case Description

Most people take their job and salary for granted, but if you are disabled that may often be beyond reach. In cooperation with local authorities, the Spanish subsidiary of ISS A/S now employs more than 300 disabled people as regular staff. The disabled employees work alongside their ISS colleagues at customer sites. They are treated and remunerated just like any other employee, and all parties involved embrace the initiative.

Since 1999 ISS Spain has employed staff with disabilities such as deafness, physical imperfections and to a smaller extent mental handicaps. Owing to the positive experiences, the number of disabled employees has been growing steadily.

All new recruits go through basic training and are then assigned to regular jobs at customer sites. Before the assignment, ISS agrees with the customer, that disabled staff will be employed at the site. Customers must be open-minded and supportive for it to work out.

Once at work, disabled staff members take equal part in duties, training, meetings and social activities. They are offered additional support and mentoring in line with their individual needs. ISS employs a psychologist and a service expert full-time, to step in whenever assistance is needed. ISS also provides legal and health assistance and runs a course in sign language for managers and other employees to improve communication with the deaf colleagues.The growing number of disabled employees at ISS Spain testifies to the success of the programme.

For the disabled themselves, working at ISS is a rare opportunity to perform a regular job in a team, and on an equal footing as other colleagues. The disabled employees feel in control of their own lives, and the wages they receive exceed the alternative social benefits. In some cases, disabled employees also manage to make impressive career steps at ISS. By large ISS boasts a satisfied and highly loyal staff of disabled employees. The opportunities at ISS are in high demand, and ISS must turn many qualified disabled applicants down.

ISS employees welcome the growing number of disabled colleagues. ISS workers are already highly diverse and the respect for individual differences is embedded in the corporate culture. The fact that many managers and employees have chosen to attend voluntary courses in sign language shows the openness towards disabled people.

Customers - in nine out of ten cases - agree to have disabled people providing services at their offices or sites. Many customers appreciate that ISS offers employment opportunities to the disabled. In some cases the ISS commitment have even strengthened customer relations.

The additional costs for ISS of employing disabled personnel arising from individual counselling, training, lower productivity etc., are covered by government wage subsidies. Add to this the increase in employee and customer satisfaction, and it is clear, that employing disabled staff is a win-win situation for all parties involved.

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