Sales of the Naturpark 12 social roastery are rising

How did you get the coffee?

For a long time, my colleagues from the Revenia association, under whose head we run a café, have been drinking quality coffee. And we found out that there is no social enterprise in the segment of selected coffee in the Czech Republic. For many years we went to a friend in Mělník, who also completed a number of foreign certifications as a coffee barista and roaster and established his own café. Today he is our main roaster. And at the same time, I received statistics that the highest unemployment rate for people with disabilities is in Mělník, which is why we set up a roastery there.

How do you explain the high unemployment?

It’s a short distance to Prague, but traveling for a few hours part-time is not worthwhile. They will spend three hours on the road and four hours at work, and then they will get together all evening. It is more advantageous for them to receive a disability pension and possibly a support allowance from the employment office, to grow everything in the garden and to learn to live modestly. Before we arrived in Mělník, there was not a single employer of people with disabilities in the sheltered labor market. And assembly lines for car parts in the Ústí nad Labem region, which is also just behind the humny, do not allow part-time and flexible work.

Where did you look for employees for the roastery?

All employees who joined us have long been on the records of the labor office. Some for at least a year and a half. Everyone has health disadvantages or disabilities that are not visible at first glance. That is why they often have to fight prejudices that they are lazy, do not want to be active and have a passive approach to life. Among them was, for example, a former bus driver, a Czech Post employee, and an employee of the technical communications administration. They all ended up in their previous occupations due to their health condition, because they could not cope with the time or physical effort required of them by the employer.

Do you feel that Czech employers do not respect the needs of the disabled?

Czech employers generally do not respect the needs of any employees. In the Czech Republic, a person is still seen as a number. I think it is because during the communist era, faith and small and small business were strongly suppressed. Weaker individuals were therefore pushed aside, whether they were disabled or elderly. People from other eastern countries had the advantage of meeting in churches and continuing to help each other in trades, on farms, while in the Czech Republic mutual help ceased to be the norm.

During the 1990s, large collections began to be organized in our country to help severely and often visibly disabled people. All people with disabilities began to be treated the same – that they needed our help. On the contrary, cases where people with disabilities helped society did not appear. Today, we must re-learn to see people with limitations as part of society.

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Is it at all realistic to employ all people with disabilities in the labor market?

Every tenth European has a disability. Eight and a half percent of them are people of working age. But it is necessary to realize that this is not a special group of people, they are everywhere among us. They are our colleagues, friends or relatives. Often we don’t even know about it, because we still feel that health restrictions must be seen, and when someone talks about it, they complain. At the same time, we all have certain limitations, for example as parents of young children and children of their own parents, who also need care.

Do you consider the inclusion of people with disabilities in the open labor market to be a better way than creating sheltered workshops?

I am definitely in favor of maintaining a sheltered job market. I see that a large number of people with disabilities are concerned about the open market when returning to the labor market. That they cannot withstand him health cannot withstand the burden as a healthy person. However, based on experience, I see that over time, many of those who experience a kind of restart in a protected labor market will start to believe more and are not afraid to try the open labor market.

Is the possibility of alternative benefits an effective way to solve the problem of low employment of people with disabilities?

If we cancel the replacement now, we will also pour out the baby with the bath. For example, many people with a mental or severe mental illness who would never find a job in the open labor market would lose their jobs. And she would not find any new similar, often assembling or auxiliary work. It is not possible to cancel a substitute performance overnight.

Employers are not a social insurance company, restrictions on the labor market hinder the development of business, said Dlouhý

On the other hand, the Czechia, Slovakia and Spain are the last three countries in the EU that allow “redemption” through substitute benefits if the employer does not fulfill the mandatory share and does not employ at least four percent of disabled people. For a long time, I have been trying to enforce a discount on social insurance for disabled employees. This is the second largest expenditure by employers after wages, which could motivate employers.

Do you have experience with companies that try to circumvent this obligation?

In October 2017, an electronic record of substitute performance was introduced, which showed how many entities have recently started to pay into the state budget. The year 2019 was a big shock for the management of many companies, when in 2018 the companies paid a huge levy.

Since last year, we have been regularly approached by companies that want to resolve replacement services. Instead, we try to persuade them to address the potential of their disabled employees and, if they use alternative benefits, to be for goods and services that are truly backed by people with disabilities.

Isn’t the possibility of buying selected coffee in a substitute filling a competitive advantage?

Replacement performance is a certain competitive advantage, but in our country it accounts for only three percent of Revenie’s total turnover. If the company buys coffee only for replacement, we will know during the communication. She often doesn’t care about quality at all. We never work with a client who is only interested in replacement performance. If the company contacts us and says that it wants to take half a ton of coffee in a substitute filling and has no explanation for it, it will not want to cooperate more, then we will not sell the coffee to it.

Are you interested in selected coffee in small towns?

The third coffee wave had a significant impact on the generation born in the 1990s and around the millennium. They studied in big cities and then move to regions where they start families, live less hectic lives, but still want to drink good coffee. The regions are precisely the places that are changing the coffee culture in the Czech Republic. Who knows, maybe in fifteen or twenty years we will work to the fact that the drinks menus of ordinary restaurants will include not only a description of wines, but also a similarly comprehensive description of coffees.

What does replacement performance mean?

It is an alternative form of fulfilling the mandatory share of employment of people with disabilities, which is to be met by all employers with more than 25 employees. It consists of taking products or services from employers who work for more than half of people with disabilities.

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