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Trial Placement Scheme for People with a Disability

LEGCO QUESTION No. 20(WRITTEN REPLY)


Date of Meeting: 21 November 2001



Asked by : Hon CHAN Yuen-han

Replied by : SEM

Question :

Under the Trial Placement Scheme for People with a Disability launched on 1 September last year, the Labour Department will make arrangements for disabled persons to work for employers participating in this Scheme for a trial period of one month and the employers are granted subsidies amounting to half of the wages they pay to each employee during the trial period, subject to a ceiling of $3,000. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the number of disabled persons placed under the Scheme so far, together with a breakdown by the type of jobs in which they are engaged and their monthly salaries; and among these employees, of the number of people who are still being employed two months after the trial period has lapsed, together with a breakdown by the type of jobs in which they are engaged and their monthly salaries;

  2. of the reasons for some disabled persons not being offered continued employment after the trial period; and

  3. as disabled persons may not be able to secure long-term employment under the Scheme, whether it will consider formulating other measures to help disabled persons secure employment, such as making it a statutory requirement that public and private organizations must employ disabled persons up to a certain percentage in the overall number of employees, or offering tax concessions to private organizations employing disabled persons?


Reply:

Madam President,

a.

Up till 31 October this year, the Selective Placement Division of the Labour Department has placed 273 persons with a disability in trial placement. The trial placement jobs were mostly from the clerical, manufacturing and service sectors, details are as follows :-

Job Title No. of Cases
Clerk / Account Clerk / Data Entry Clerk / Office Assistant / Courier 90 (33.0%)
General Worker / Production Worker / Packer / Store Worker / Driver 84 (30.8%)
Cleaner / Dishwasher / Kitchen Helper / Car Park Assistant / Security Guard 78 (28.6%)
Purchasing Merchandiser / Assistant Accountant / Draftsman / Designer / Technician / Administrative Assistant 11 (4.0%)
Promoter / Shop Assistant / Telesales 10 (3.6%)
Total : 273 (100%)

The wages of the trial placement workers varied with the work nature, hours of work, academic and experience requirements. The average wage was $5,200 per month. The breakdown is as follows :-

Monthly Wages No. of Cases
Below $ 3,000 * 28 (10.2%)
$ 3,000 - $ 4,999 86 (31.5%)
$ 5,000 - $ 6,999 129 (47.2%)
$ 7,000 - $ 8,999 25 (9.2%)
$ 9,000 - $10,999 4 (1.5%)
$11,000 - $ 12,999 1 (0.4%)
Total : 273 (100%)
* Note : mainly part-time jobs

Excluding 22 persons still on trial placement, 193 (76.9%) of the 251 persons with a disability who completed the trial placement were offered employment by employers. The jobs in which they were employed are as follows :-

Job Title No. of Cases
Clerk / Account Clerk / Data Entry Clerk / Office Assistant / Courier 65 (33.7%)
General Worker / Production Worker / Packer / Store Worker / Driver 61 (31.6%)
Cleaner / Dishwasher / Kitchen Helper / Car Park Assistant / Security Guard 54 (28.0%)
Purchasing Merchandiser / Assistant Accountant / Draftsman / Designer / Technician / Administrative Assistant 8 (4.1%)
Promoter / Shop Assistant / Telesales 5 (2.6%)
Total : 193 (100%)

Breakdown of their wages is as follows :-

Monthly Wages No. of Cases
Below $ 3,000 * 24 (12.5%)
$ 3,000 - $ 4,999 61 (31.6%)
$ 5,000 - $ 6,999 84 (43.5%)
$ 7,000 - $ 8,999 22 (11.4%)
$ 9,000 - $10,999 2 (1.0%)
Total : 193 (100%)
* Note : all part-time jobs

Excluding the 23 persons who have not yet completed the 3-month service, 128 of the 170 persons with a disability who were offered employment under the scheme, were still in employment two months after the expiry of the trial placement period, resulting in a job retention rate of 75.3%. The jobs in which they were employed are as follows :-

Job Title No. of Cases
Clerk / Account Clerk / Data Entry Clerk / Office Assistant / Courier 40 (31.3%)
General Worker / Production Worker / Packer / Store Worker / Driver 39 (30.5%)
Cleaner / Dishwasher / Kitchen Helper / Car Park Assistant / Security Guard 40 (31.3%)
Purchasing Merchandiser / Assistant Accountant / Draftsman / Designer / Technician / Administrative Assistant 8 (6.2%)
Telesales 1 (0.7%)
Total : 128 (100%)

Breakdown of their wages is as follows :-

Monthly Wages No. of Cases
Below $ 3,000 * 16 (12.5%)
$ 3,000 - $ 4,999 39 (30.5%)
$ 5,000 - $ 6,999 57 (44.5%)
$ 7,000 - $ 8,999 14 (10.9%)
$ 9,000 - $10,999 2 (1.6%)
Total : 128 (100%)
b.

The reasons why trial workers were not employed after trial placement can be summarised as follows :-

  1. the trial workers' working abilities were not up to the requirement of the employers, or that they had poor interpersonal relationship with other workers, resulting in employers' discontinuation of their employment;

  2. the trial workers were not satisfied with the work nature, work environment, pay and interpersonal relationship at work, and quit their jobs.

    To help improve the interpersonal relationship of disabled employees, the Selective Placement Division will launch a new "Trial Placement cum Mentor Scheme for People with a Disability" shortly. Under the new scheme, the Division will request employers to appoint an experienced co-worker to be the "mentor" of the disabled employees, so that immediate assistance and peer support can be rendered to the disabled employees to facilitate their early integration and retention in the job. If the disabled employees can successfully complete the 1-month trial placement and secure the offer of long-term employment, their respective mentors will be awarded a gift coupon of $500 and a certificate of appreciation as an encouragement.

  3. In drafting the 1995 White Paper on Rehabilitation Policies and Services, the Working Party on Rehabilitation Policies and Services carried out detailed discussions on the proposals such as introducing a quota system for the disabled and offering tax concessions. It was concluded that, under a quota system, some employers would be forced to employ disabled persons, who might then be seen as a liability of the company. Disabled persons so employed would be unlikely to be accepted and might not be willing to continue working in an unfriendly environment.

    At present, under the profits tax regime, all expenses, including salary payment, incurred by the taxpayer in deriving the assessable profits can already be deducted in full from such profits. Therefore, the Government does not support the proposal to increase the existing tax concession to allow an employer of a disabled person to be given a deduction exceeding the actual amount of salary payable.

    In view of the above, we have strong reservations about measures such as offering tax concessions and making it a statutory requirement that employers must employ disabled persons up to a certain percentage. We believe that it is more effective and appropriate to find jobs actively for the disabled and make employers aware of the capability of the disabled by means of promotion and education.

    To promote public acceptance of people with disabilities, and to enhance their opportunities of open employment, the Selective Placement Division of the Labour Department regularly organizes various public education and promotional activities, including talks, exhibitions, seminars held jointly with employers' associations, presentation of awards to enlightened employers and outstanding disabled employees, and production of radio programmes.

    In recent years, the Division has greatly enhanced the efficiency of securing jobs for the disabled and increased the placement rate through various measures, including promotional activities, employment counselling, job matching, job referral and post-employment follow-up services etc. The employment rate of the disabled rose significantly from 40% in 1998 to 58% for the first ten months of this year. The number of people assisted also increased to 3 600 (for the first ten months of this year), with over 2 000 successfully secured employment.
Last revision date: 21 November 2001
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