Region: Americas

Disability Definition

A person with disabilities is understood as a person who suffers any restriction or impediment to performing an activity, caused by deficiency in form or within the area considered normal for a human being; the State is responsible for establishing inter-sectorial and inter-institutional coordination that guarantees their full development and integration into society.

Disabilities are classified as:

  1. Intellectual deficiencies and other psychological deficiencies (mental retardation, emotional disturbances and the mentally ill);
  2. Language deficiencies;
  3. Deficiencies of the hearing organ;
  4. Deficiencies of the vision organ;
  5. Deficiencies of skeletal muscles; and
  6. Deficiencies due to disfigurement.


Constitution of the Republic of Panama

Art. 518. – Persons with disabilities have the same rights that the Constitution, this Code, and the other laws, give to citizens, and to application of the provisions of international conventions or treaties for their best interests.

For more information, refer to articles 87, 88, 620-623

Reference: Constitution of the Republic of Panama

Employer Legal Requirements

Constitution of the Republic of Panama – Reform Labor Code
Articles 21 and 24

Chapter II. Work Placement and Employment Service.

21. The State has the duty to develop a national employment policy, intervening in the placement of all people who wish to work, ensuring job preservation and creating the sources of employment that are necessary.
The employment service, unlike the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, shall have the function, along with the other entities created for this purpose by the State or Municipalities, of job placement for all workers wishing to find employment.

24. The Employment Service shall give special attention to partially disabled workers and to minors, seeking appropriate occupations for them.

In order to attend to the needs of employers, unemployed workers shall be considered in the order of their registration in the Service.

“The national platform for comprehensive disaster risk management paid special attention to persons with disabilities, and the quota of two per cent of persons with disabilities among employees had been adopted. Policies to promote workplace inclusion of persons with disabilities had been adopted and in 2014 a tri-partite commission had been created which had studied the conditions in the labour market to upgrade the vocational and technical training for persons with disabilities from which 990 persons had benefited to date”. CRPD

Accessibility Requirements

Act No. 42 of 1999: “equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, which seeks to ensure the creation of conditions that will enable persons with disabilities to attain their full potential, their integration into society and the enjoyment of all the rights conferred on citizens under the Constitution and the law.”
The National Secretariat for Disabilities (SENADIS) was established in Act No. 23 of 2007, “whose functions include approving, in liaison with municipalities, the design of urban and architectural projects and plans, as well as the renovation of existing buildings and spaces for public and private gatherings, in order to ensure that they comply with the technical specifications for access to the physical environment.”

Cultural Norms

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Business Practices/Examples

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“In 2007, the National Disability Secretariat had been created as an autonomous body with a mandate to promote public policies for the social inclusion of persons with disabilities. After that, Panama continued to build an inclusive social model based on human rights.”

Based on the census conducted in 2000, the number of people 40 years and older that had a disability was 52,197.

There are not many updated surveys or census’s that have given updated information on the disabled population.

Supplier Diversity

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Talent Sourcing Resources

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Additional Resources

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