Legal environment in partnering nations - Egypt

egypt overview

Historical background

In the early nineteenth century, Egyptian citizens began to form assemblies working in favor of persons with disabilities. In 1939, the Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA) was established and one of its objectives was to help people with disabilities by securing their basic needs so they become a productive part of society. Part of the MSA is the department for Social Rehabilitation of the Disabled, dedicated for planning and managing services for people with disabilities. It drafts policies targeting disabled people and refers persons with disabilities to non-governmental agencies that offer rehabilitation services, physiotherapy, education and other social services. The national medical insurance, and other medical insurance companies, usually cover the expenses of rehabilitation services (including equipment, orthotics and prosthetics) for insured persons.

In 1953, the MSA established the first rehabilitation center for people with disabilities. Currently there are many centers that are distributed in most Egyptian Mohafazats.
The year 1990 was devoted to improving the welfare of disabled children. Several conferences were held under the Patronage of the former First Lady of Egypt Mrs. Mubarak. All professionals involved in the work with disabled children participated in these conferences and brought their recommendations for improvements.
In June 2005, the MSA reported that it would allocate about $US 4.96 million to rehabilitation programs for persons with disabilities over the following 5 years.

Laws and regulations

The Law No. 39 entitled "the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons Act” and issued in 1975 governs the rights of persons with disabilities in Egypt. Its main objective is to set a framework for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and their integration into the workforce. The Act defines “disabled” as a person unable to assume or maintain a job on her/his own ability due to muscular, mental, or sensational weakness, present since birth or subsequently acquired. It is designed to assist people with disabilities to earn their livelihood through: government-sponsored training, employment quotas, and job protection. The law is comprised of 21 articles and addresses the following topics:
  • definition of disabled and rehabilitation services 
  • establishment of the Higher Council of Rehabilitation, chaired by the MSA and represented by other ministries, various associations of disabled people and six experts or activists in the affairs of people with disabilities and their rehabilitation 
  • rights to work and to receive health, rehabilitation and support services 
  • MSA's duty to establish the different institutions needed to provide vocational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities 
However, the Act is limited in scope. It applies to all public and private employers with more than 50 employees. The provisions govern:
  • Rehabilitation programs and assistance 
  • Mandatory participation or loss of social security payments 
  • Special vocational and other trainings 
  • Five percent quota in public and private employment 
  • Government-maintained roster of vacant suitable positions 
  • Enforcement and penalties for violation 
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