Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 15:35
Dutch cabinet: Businesses not forced to adapt for disabled workers
The Dutch government will not legally force businesses to adapt their buildings to make them more accessible for the disabled, Public Health State Secretary Martin van Rijn wrote to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, NOS reports. This letter is in response to PvdA parliamentarian Otwin van Dijk criticizing the government in December. He wants the government to do more to make society more accessible to disabled people. But Van Rijn does not think it necessary to impose a legal obligation on all businesses. "The government shares the principle that there should be a progressive, gradual achievement of the overall accessibility for persons with a disability or chronic illness", he writes, adding that a general obligation entails drawbacks. "The government prefers a practical approach at local and national level, without using the legal standard." Van Dijk is disappointed with the response. According to him, the government's chosen path will not result in improvements. "Everyone should be able to participate fully in society. This means that people wit a disability or chronic illness should be able to simply visit a restaurant, check a website and take the bus or train", he said to the broadcaster. He thinks a universal access law like in England is needed. "Only then can we make the Netherlands accessible to everyone. The past few years showed that it does not happen automatically."