New workplace rules for inclusion of persons with disabilities

The International Labour Organisation says it can help workplaces become more inclusive

New workplace rules for inclusion of persons with disabilities

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has updated its workplace guidelines on the inclusion of persons with disabilities for employers in Asia and the Pacific.

ILO has launched "EmployAbility: Tapping the potential of persons with disabilities in Asia and the Pacific – A guide for employers," which is an updated version of a 2007 document.

"This guide is an invaluable resource for businesses seeking to enhance their operations, reputation and profitability," said Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, ILO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

"Every organisation can benefit by tapping into the huge reservoir of potential workers with disabilities that exists in the Asia and Pacific region."

According to the ILO, the document outlines recommendations for the introduction and improvement of disability-inclusion measures in hiring, employment, training, and career advancement strategies.

"For a company to become disability-inclusive, a comprehensive approach should be adopted involving its entire workforce," read the guideline, adding that the following are important for this approach:

  • Commitment of senior leadership
  • Promotion of disability awareness throughout the company
  • Development of a company-wide disability-inclusion policy, which includes provisions on
    • Non-discrimination and equal opportunity
    • Recruitment
    • Confidentiality
    • Job progression
    • Job retention
    • Accessibility
    • Occupational safety and health (including preventing and addressing violence and harassment at work)
    • Continuing disability-related awareness-raising, education, and training
  • Development and dissemination of a strategy to implement the disability-inclusion policy
  • Regular evaluation and review of the policy and strategy, with changes if necessary
  • Providing knowledge-sharing and collaboration with other enterprises

Read more: Hiring people with disabilities: What you need to know

Joni Simpson, non-discrimination specialist with the ILO, pointed out that workers with disabilities is an underutilised talent pool, but access to inclusive workplaces remains a challenge.

"This guide can help companies looking to make their workplaces more inclusive – and it provides examples of enterprises in the region making considerable progress," said Simpson.

According to the ILO, the guide was updated with the support of the European Union, through the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia Programme, which is an initiative that promotes responsible business conduct and socially responsible labour practices.

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