Employers and Disabled Persons in the Region and Beyond : What is happening?
Debra Perry, Senior Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation,
International Labor Office
Ms. Debra Perry has been as the International Labor Office's Senior Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation for Asia and Pacific region for three and a half years. She provides policy advice and technical assistance to the ILO's 27 member countries in the region and to employers, workers and disability organizations on issues related to the training and employment of people with disabilities. Prior to joining ILO, Ms. Perry worked as consultant in Washing D.C. providing training and management in areas of disability, diversity, strategic planning, partnership and marketing.
In her speech, Ms. Perry pointed out five main reasons why an employer hires a disabled person:
They must (abided by legislation, policies, anti-discrimination laws, etc.)
2. Someone ask (asked by disabled person, vocational rehabilitation NGOs or related organizations)
3. To do the right thing (obligations by values of human rights, corporate social responsibility, public image, company policy, etc.)
4. They are encouraged (by peers)
5. It makes a good business sense
Ms. Perry then showcased the recent corporate practices to embrace people with disabilities into workplace in the Asia Pacific region. JW Marriott Hotel, collaborates with Hong Chi Association, provides training and employment opportunities for trainees with mental handicap on housekeeping, bakery and other relevant work tasks; Slimline, a subsidiary of MAS Holding of Sri Lanka, considers disabled people to be "differently-abled" and successfully maintains a diversified workforce; CJ Telenix, a major Korean multinational corporation, hires people with severe disabilities as staff of their telemarketing section, and they perform as efficient as other working peers.
People with disabilities are not confined to low-skilled and simple tasks. With reasonable accommodation and customized training, people with disabilities can take up a wide variety of jobs.
As employers and management staff, every little step can make a big difference to people with disabilities. Ms. Perry pleaded the business sector to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities within their companies, their business communities, and in partnership with the rehabilitation sector. There are many possible ways, which include:
Establish encouraging policies and accommodation for disabled employees;
2. Create employment opportunities;
3. Promote to hire disabled employees within the employers' network;
4. Partner with NGOs, government, workers organizations, to promote positive attitudes and dissemination of good practices.
Click here to see Ms. Debra Perry's Presentation (PDF file format - 6.14MB)