Disabled Worker Gets ISK 4,200 in Monthly Salary Skip to content

Disabled Worker Gets ISK 4,200 in Monthly Salary

An autistic individual who works at Bjarkarás work training facility in Reykjavík, whose duties involve packing and assembling, is paid only ISK 4,200 (USD 71, EUR 49) per month and in October he received an additional ISK 300 (USD 5, EUR 4) in overtime.

“He thinks this salary is humiliating like others who would receive amounts like this for one month of work would feel,” Kristín J. Sigurjónsdóttir, shop steward for the disabled, told Fréttabladid.

Bjarkarás is not a so-called protected workplace, where disabled individuals are employed, but rather a work training and recreation facility for the disabled. Individuals who come there pack goods into boxes and put stickers on them for companies and institutions.

Representatives of Bjarkarás explained in a statement that the work training facility’s protégées usually do not receive any salary for their work and if they do, it is considered as a special reward.

Sigurjónsdóttir said insurance benefits are considered a replacement for salary is such cases. “But it is only natural that people want to be paid for their work. People have been dissatisfied with this system for a long time.”

“It is impossible,” said Gerdur Aagot Árnadóttir, a physician and the director of Throskahjálp, an organization fighting for equality for the disabled. “We should not offer such wages but it’s a fact that Iceland is far behind other countries in these matters.”

Árnadóttir added this arrangement may be legal, but it is still unethical.

Kristján Valdimarsson, director of Hlutverk, an association for labor and work training, suggested labor unions and local authorities make wage contracts for the salaries of individuals working at work training facilities like Bjarkarás, the same as for protected workplaces.

“It is a principal matter that if a work training facility is given projects than generate income, the total income should be given to those who do the work,” Valdimarsson concluded.

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