More carrots offered to firms that hire those with disabilities

More incentives have been put in place to encourage firms to be more inclusive in their hiring practices.

The Housing Board will offer discounted rentals to all social enterprises that are members of the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) when they are allocated shop space.

Previously, the HDB extended this scheme only to new social enterprises that receive competitive grant funding from raiSE. The new scheme is open to a larger pool of about 350 social enterprises.

A pilot programme has also started to allow businesses to apply through SG Enable for direct allocation of HDB shop space if they commit to hiring a workforce where at least 20 per cent is made up of people with disabilities. Small and medium-sized enterprises will get a 20 per cent rent discount for the first three years of tenancy.

These measures were announced by Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee at the biennial Enabling Employers Awards held yesterday at Pan Pacific Hotel.

The event, which started in 2011, is organised by SG Enable and recognises organisations and individuals who have committed to integrating people with disabilities into the workforce.

Mr Lee told the gathering: "We want to further strengthen our support for inclusive employers like you, who understand... the value that employees with disabilities bring to your organisations... We hope that (the new initiatives) will make it even easier for social enterprises and businesses who hire persons with disabilities to start up in our housing estates and neighbourhoods, bringing jobs closer to the community."

 
 
 

He added that the Government has launched the pilot programme because it recognised that apart from social enterprises, there are a growing number of businesses that are hiring people with disabilities.

The minister also presented a record number of awards, with 111 winners, up 50 per cent from 2017.

Siloso Beach Resort received the highest accolade together with the National Library Board. The resort hires about 20 employees with disabilities.

Managing director Kelvin Ng said the resort took steps to accommodate such staff with longer, more structured training periods and switching cutlery to plastic. "We are very happy with... our initiative... especially seeing the benefits in their lives."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2019, with the headline 'More carrots offered to firms that hire those with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe