New Network Promotes Employment of People With Disabilities

A visually impaired student, right, reads braille script while seated beside an assistant during the national exams in Makassar, South Sulawesi, in this April 4, 2016 file photo. Five companies have launched the Indonesia Business and Disability Network in Jakarta on Friday (15/12), aimed at promoting diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. (Antara Photo/Yusran Uccang)

By : Ratri M. Siniwi | on 3:42 PM December 18, 2016
Category : Business

Jakarta. Five companies have launched the Indonesia Business and Disability Network in Jakarta on Friday (16/12), aimed at promoting diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.

The pact, signed by Bank Mandiri, Standard Chartered Bank, L'Oréal Indonesia, TetraPak Stainless Equipment and retail giant Trans Retail Indonesia, is supported by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Ministry of Manpower, the Indonesian Disabled People's Association (PPCI) and the Social Security Administration Body for Employment (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan).

"People with disabilities increase morale in the company, they reduce turnover, stay faithful to the company – they have skills you can count on," ILO country director Francesco d'Ovidio said on Friday. "I think it makes a lot of sense from a business perspective."

According to the University of Indonesia, 12.15 percent of the country's workforce consists of people with disabilities, with most of them employed in the informal sector. This means that many people with disabilities do not earn regular incomes and have very little, or no access to insurance.

D'Ovidio believes the network will not only give businesses access to an untapped resource, but also help to empower many people living with disabilities.

The sentiment was unanimously shared between the five companies, as most have hired employees with disabilities, while looking forward to having more join the network.

Trans Retail Indonesia, which introduced an inclusivity policy in 2014, has been the exemplar so far by employing 200 people with disabilities in various departments, including human resources, quality control and back offices.

"We do not have specifications, but we see their capabilities and competencies and see where they fit best," Trans Retail Indonesia human resources and corporate affairs director Herni Dian said.

On the other hand, L'Oréal believes the first step is to prepare current staff and infrastructure before employing more people with disabilities. Additional programs also include empowerment programs for people with disabilities to open their own salons or become makeup artists.

"As people with disabilities tend to work in the informal sector, we train and provide workshops for them so that they can be independent, and for capacity building," L'Oréal human resources head Restu Widiati said.

The Indonesian government issued a new regulation this year to improve inclusivity in the workplace, which states that 1 percent of the workforce in private companies must consist of people with disabilities and 2 percent for state-owned enterprises and government offices.

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