Guide for companies to integrate persons with special needs to be rolled out

Guide for companies to integrate persons with special needs to be rolled out

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People crossing a street in Singapore's central business district. (File photo: Reuters)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and SG Enable will be releasing a guide that will help companies better integrate persons with special needs at the workplace, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate speech on Tuesday (Mar 5).

To be released in the first half of this year, the Job Redesign Guide, will contain information on common workplace modifications, changes to working arrangements, and the use of assistive technology devices.

MOM and Workforce Singapore will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and SG Enable to scale up efforts to build employers’ capabilities in hiring and managing persons with special needs under the Third Enabling Masterplan, he added.

The Government will also continue to study the successes of overseas models to build a strong framework in Singapore, he said, adding that to achieve a more inclusive society, the agencies need the private and people sectors to partner them.

“While there are existing Government-funded schemes to support hiring of persons with special needs, awareness may not be high,” he said, urging members in the House to spread the word on these initiatives.

READ: A little help goes a long way to enable special-needs workers

He singled out the Open Door Programme (ODP) under the Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Adapt and Grow initiative. In the past three years, more than 1,600 persons with special needs have been placed through these programmes, he said.

Administered by SG Enable, ODP gives employers access to recruitment and job support services for persons with special needs. Grants for job redesign and training are also available to better support their integration.

He gave an example of Sassax, a global energy and commodities firm, which tapped on ODP’s Job Redesign Grant to make workplace modifications for an employee who had  sustained spinal injuries after a motorcycle accident. The grant supports 90 per cent of job redesign costs, up to S$20,000 per employee with special needs, to make several workplace modifications.

Office partitions were removed to make it easier for the employee to move around with his crutches. The manual-lock of the office door was also replaced with a digital-lock, as he had difficulty bending down.

He encouraged more companies to follow suit.

“We desire for a more inclusive society, where persons with special needs are given opportunities to make meaningful contributions as part of the workforce,” he said.

Source: CNA/ja

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