LCQ7: Provision of employment support for persons with disabilities
The Rehabilitation Advisory Committee stated in the Persons with Disabilities and Rehabilitation Programme Plan published in June 2020 that promoting employment of persons with disabilities (PWDs) is to encourage them to contribute to the society at different work positions on the basis of their abilities (rather than their disabilities). Regarding the employment support provided by the Government for PWDs, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of PWDs participated in the various programmes implemented to support the employment of PWDs and the number of employment organisations involved, in each of the past five years;
(2) whether it has, in respect of the various aforesaid programmes, arranged dedicated manpower to follow up the situation of the participants, as well as provided them with emotional support and followed up their employment situation; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) whether the Government will regularly review and adjust the amount of subsidy under the Support Programme for Employees with Disabilities; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
My reply to the question raised by the Member is as follows:
(1) The Government is committed to promoting employment of persons with disabilities so that they can take up productive and gainful employment in the open market on the basis of their abilities. The Social Welfare Department (SWD) subsidises non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to implement the Supported Employment, On the Job Training Programme for People with Disabilities and Sunnyway - On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities to provide persons with disabilities with related vocational training, counselling service and post-placement service and help them to secure jobs. Currently, there are 26, 14 and 15 NGOs providing Supported Employment, On the Job Training Programme for People with Disabilities and Sunnyway - On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities respectively. The number of persons with disabilities participating in related employment support services in the past five years was as follows:
|Year||Supported Employment||On the Job Training Programme for People with Disabilities||Sunnyway - On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities|
In 2001, the SWD also set up the "Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities through Small Enterprise" Project (3E Project) to provide grants of seed money to subsidise NGOs in setting up social enterprises, in which at least half of their employees must be persons with disabilities, so as to create more work and on-the-job training opportunities for persons with disabilities. The cumulative figure of the businesses subsidised by the 3E Project and employment opportunities created for employees with disabilities in the past five years was as follows:
|As of end of the following year||Businesses subsidised under 3E Project (cumulative figure) (Note 1)||Employment opportunities created for employees with disabilities (cumulative figure)|
Moreover, the Labour Department (LD) implements the Work Orientation and Placement Scheme (WOPS) to encourage employers to hire persons with disabilities and provide them with on-the-job training and support. Under the WOPS, employers will be granted an on-the-job allowance up to $60,000 for engaging each eligible job seeker with disabilities. The numbers of registered job seekers and placements recorded by the LD as well as the relevant figures under the WOPS from 2018 to 2022 were as follows:
|Year||Total number of registered job seekers||Total number of placements
(Note 2 and 3)
|Number of placements||Number of employers involved in placements|
|2018||2 766||2 219||796||379|
|2019||2 766||2 213||942||395|
|2020||2 478||1 741||809||294|
|2021||2 882||2 375||1 137||426|
|2022||2 570||2 412||1 228||514|
Note 3: The LD does not maintain the total number of employers involved
(2) Having regard to the employment needs of the participants of Supported Employment, On the Job Training Programme for People with Disabilities and Sunnyway - On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities, the SWD provides them with relevant vocational training, counselling service and post-placement service, and helps those participants in need of support to seek suitable jobs. Starting from 2018-19, the post-placement services for the above three services have been extended to 12 months to enhance continuous support for employment of persons with disabilities.
For businesses funded by the 3E Project, the SWD will monitor each against the stated milestones, including the ratio of employees with disabilities employed as pledged in the application. The SWD will conduct scheduled visits and interviews with employees with disabilities and receive regular progress reports submitted by the businesses to understand the employment situation of the employees with disabilities.
The Selective Placement Division of the LD provides personalised employment services, including employment counselling, job matching and referral, for job seekers with disabilities who are fit for open employment. Upon placing job seekers with disabilities into employment, the employment consultants of the Selective Placement Division will provide follow-up service for at least six months to help them settle in their new jobs. The LD also implements the Counselling Scheme for Persons with Disabilities, under which registered social workers of the engaged NGOs provide psychological and emotional counselling service to job seekers with disabilities when needed.
(3) The SWD has launched the Support Programme for Employees with Disabilities (SPED) since June 2013 to provide employers of persons with disabilities with a one-off subsidy in respect of each employee with disabilities for procurement of assistive devices and/or workplace modifications to facilitate employees with disabilities in discharging their duties at the workplace and enhance their work efficiency.
During the initial implementation stage of the SPED, each employer could apply for a subsidy up to $20,000 in respect of each employee with disabilities. In April 2014, the SWD enhanced the SPED by raising the maximum support level to $40,000 for procurement of a single assistive device and its essential accessories. In 2019, the SWD conducted a comprehensive review on the SPED, with a view to strengthening support to employees with disabilities and their employers and announced in March 2020 that the maximum level of support for the SPED was raised to $40,000 for each employee with disabilities for procurement of assistive devices and/or workplace modifications to better meet the needs of employees with disabilities in discharging their duties at the workplace and enhance their work efficiency. The SWD will timely review the SPED, including the vetting procedures, level of subsidies, etc., in order to provide applicants with appropriate assistance.
Ends/Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 11:05
Issued at HKT 11:05