'These flexibilities will have positive impact on job satisfaction and is critical in attracting and retaining PWDs at work'
Employers across Malaysia are being urged to be more flexible to accommodate persons with disabilities (PWDs) in workplaces amid findings that the talent pool remains untapped.
Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman, president of the Malaysian Employers Federation, is asking business leaders to provide seamless accessibility and productive work set-up for PWDs.
"These cover digital support in terms of tech tools to help them communicate and produce the required jobs, physical support by providing ample space for them to have access to office facilities, and well-being support," Syed Hussain said in a statement.
Processes within organisations, such as hiring, job descriptions, and performance management policies, would also need to be reengineered to accommodate PWDs.
"These flexibilities will have positive impact on job satisfaction and is critical in attracting and retaining PWDs at work," Syed Hussain said.
"The aim of the HR policy is to increase fairness and equity across the board by ensuring everyone is paid equally based on what the employee brings to the role, rather than based on gender, race, or other factors."
Employers are also encouraged to ensure the safe transition and integration of PWD talents in workplaces, such as implementing flexible work arrangements.
"Employers should also advocate flexi working conditions for PWDs staff. Employers and businesses should seriously look into having better facilities both physical and emotional for PWDs and their clients," Syed Hussain said.
According to the MEF president, it is "timely" for organisations to build a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive workplace.
"The workplace is fundamentally changing. Technological, societal, and environmental shifts are reshaping how employers engage with people, customers, and communities," he said.
Not fully tapped talent pool
Syed Hussain's remarks came as he cited statistics showing the PWD talent are not fully tapped by employers.
Among over 637,000 registered PWDs in Malaysia, only 12,000 are in employment, according to the MEF president.
This is despite the government's one per cent quota of employment to be given to PWDs.
"Based on the allocated one per cent of employment quota to PWDs, there should be at least 162,000 PWDs in employment. Based on the statistics, PWDs represent a huge pool of talents but they are not yet fully tapped," Syed Hussain said.
The Malaysian government has long advocated for the employment of PWDs. It enacted the Persons with Disabilities Act in 2008 which promotes the employment of PWDs, among other benefits.
It also extended incentives for employers hiring PWDs through the Budget 2023. Eligible employers may receive a rate of MYR600 per month for a three-month period, according to the MEF.