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Home > Arhiva > 2011 > Numar: 3 > Sheltered Units: The Implementation of Policies for the Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities

 Sheltered Units: The Implementation of Policies for the Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities

  • Diana Gabor (Babeş Bolyai University, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, 21 Decembrie 1989 bd., no. 128,Cluj-Napoca, Romania, + 40-264-42.46.74, e-mail:

One of the main debates these last few years in Romania has been related to the costs and efficiency of the welfare state and whether social policies create disincentives to work and allow people to scheme the system. Looking at a policy designed to encourage companies to hire the ”assisted” will fall right in the middle of that debate, but also touches upon trends in social policies all around Europe, underlining a propensity towards encouraging the integration to the labour market. The first part of the article describes the theoretical discussions around welfare states and their evolution after Socialism, as well as the EU policies regarding social inclusion, from positive discrimination to mainstreaming. It also discusses a particular strain of social policy known as ”the Third Way”, which focuses on integration through labour rather than redistribution. In the spirit of these policies, Romania designed Law nr. 448/2006, which is presented in the following part of the article. This legislation was developed as a means to encourage companies to hire persons with disabilities through tax breaks and other provisions, receiving support for accommodating the workspace for them. Finally, the research tries to figure out how all this system works in Cluj-Napoca and whether the goals of the law are actually met. The semi-structured interviews with most of the managers of sheltered units listed from the city show that the impact of the policy is very limited and even that companies that find a way around it actually profit from this law.

Keywords: integration, disability, the Third Way, welfare state