New program to boost presence of persons with disabilities in the job market
Middle East, December 1 2016
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has set up an eight-point program to evaluate companies employing persons with disabilities.
Saudi Gazette has learned that the eight standards will be the basis of a program called “Mowaama,” which means making the job market equipped and accessible for persons with disabilities.
The move is in line with the goal of Saudi Vision 2030 to employ and empower persons with disabilities.
The eight standards include the support given by the top management to employ persons with disabilities, knowledge about how to deal with persons with disabilities, regulations to employ persons with disabilities, the role of the human resource department in providing sustainable jobs for the disabled, availability of services and products for persons with disabilities, communication between different departments of the company and how they incorporate methods to absorb persons with disabilities, the facilities available in the building to serve the disabled and the use of technology to provide for persons with disabilities.
In addition to Mowaama, the ministry is now looking forward to develop a new program by which persons with disabilities can obtain certificates that they can use to prove they have a particular disability yet can work. The new ID will be named “Qudra Card” or “Ability Card.”
At an event about the employment of persons with disabilities organized by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mirvat Tashqandi, adviser to the minister of labor and social development, said they have worked for five years to develop new programs that can help empower persons with disabilities.
She noted that they have come up with a new definition of persons with disabilities to identify who can join the job market.
The definition includes all sorts of permanent and temporary disabilities. Disabilities can be physical, mental, visual or hard-of-hearing, and a person with disability has to provide a medical proof of his or her disability from the Ministry of Health.
The law still considers a employees with disability as four employees in the Saudization count, she said. The ministry gives a detailed table that categorizes the disabilities and arrangements should be made for disabled employees according to their needs. The new system will be applied on major companies, which have to adhere to it within two years, and then will be expanded to other companies.
The distance employment strategy targets mainly women and persons with disabilities. According to Qadir Khalil from Takamol, a public holding company under the Ministry of Labor, they have eight service provider companies that link up with job seekers. She added that they are in the process of signing agreements with three other companies.
Khalil said they have developed two ways of distance employment — the first is working from home and the second is working at established centers that are located in Madinah, Al-Jouf, Al-Qassim, Al-Ahsa, Najran and Jazan. So far the online portal has provided jobs for 4,000 job seekers, some of who persons with disabilities.
Khalid Sindi, CEO of the Business Disabled Network “Qaderoon,” said the employment of persons with disabilities is a right that is protected by international agreements as well as by local regulations. Therefore, he noted, the companies should not look at the employment of persons with disabilities as a social responsibility but as a deserved right.
According to a study conducted by the International Labor Organization, persons with disabilities proved to be punctual, productive and have more job satisfaction compared to other employees.
There is no exact statistics on persons with disabilities in the Kingdom, but international figures show that some 15 percent of the global population have some sort of disability.