The Jakarta Post
Companies should strive to employ people with disabilities as they have the right to employment and the skills that can benefit companies, says experts.
According to senior disability specialist at the International Labor Organization (ILO), Esteban Tromel, unlike other rights such as education and health, employment rights were more complicated as they involved the private sector.
"We need to first convince the private sector not only with regard to human rights but also concerning the commercial and business advantages of employing people with disabilities," said Tromel during a discussion in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Indonesia has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) through Law no. 19/2011 on CRPD ratification and is currently drafting a new law on disabilities included in the 2015-2019 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).
According to Tromel, people with disabilities in the country still experienced discrimination particularly in education, skills assessment and labor aspects.
ILO was trying to raise people's awareness, especially Indonesian business players, said Tromel, by facilitating discussion between companies that had benefited from employing people with disabilities and firms that were still skeptical.
"There are many private companies that have had positive experiences in employing and keeping their employees with disabilities," said ILO Indonesia deputy director Michiko Miyamoto.
According to India-based Tata Consultancy Services Limited head of diversity and inclusion, Sreela Das Gupta, people who have disabilities tend to perform better as they are more loyal to the company.
"These employees [generally] have a high level of performance, are able to motivate other team members to do better, dispelling the myth that people with disabilities cannot work and create goodwill with customers. They are also extra careful and make fewer mistakes," said Gupta.
She added that companies should not employ people with disabilities just to comply with the law, but to commit themselves to accept diversity.
Gupta also said that the issue concerning employing people with disabilities usually lied with other employees who found it difficult to deal with diversity.
"This calls for the responsibility of the company's management to create programs that encouraged everyone to participate," said Gupta.
Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) spokesperson Harjono asserted that companies should also ensure that their decision to employ people with disabilities was not out of pity but due to the fact that they had the necessary skills and talent.
"Apindo is ready to implement the law as referred to in the UN convention, but we need to cooperate with the government to maintain a safe and productive work environment in Indonesia," said Harjono. (kes)(+)
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