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Employment of persons with physical disabilities and suffering from chronic illness


Date of Meeting: 22 November 2000

Asked by : Hon WONG Sing-chi

Replied by : SEM

Question :

With regard to the employment of persons with physical disabilities and suffering from chronic illness ("disabled persons"), will the Government inform this Council of :

  1. the respective numbers of disabled persons in the various disability categories;

  2. the size of the labour force of the disabled persons, their respective labour force participation, underemployment and unemployment rates; and

  3. the current number of disabled persons employed by the Government and their percentage in the total number of Government employees; and whether it knows the relevant figures for various public organizations and private enterprises?


Madam President,

a. Basing on the number of cases registered with the Central Registry for Rehabilitation of the Health and Welfare Bureau and the disability prevalence rate adopted by other countries and places, it is estimated that there are about 423 000 disabled persons in Hong Kong. The main categories of disabilities are mental handicap (137 000), mental illness (92 000), visual impairment (75 000), physical handicap (72 000) and hearing impairment (40 000).

Since the above figures are not derived from local detailed surveys, they may not reflect the actual situation of our disabled population. To acquire more accurate statistical data on disabled persons so as to facilitate the planning of appropriate services, the Census and Statistics Department is conducting a special topic enquiry via its "General Household Survey" as well as a special survey on people with disabilities living at various institutions. The aim is to ascertain the number of disabled persons in Hong Kong by selected categories and to gather information on the social and economic characteristics of disabled persons. It is expected that the findings will be available in mid-2001.
b. We do not have such information in hand. However, following the completion of the statistical surveys in part (a) above, we will have more information about the employment situation of disabled persons in Hong Kong.
c. At present, a total of 3 847 disabled persons are employed in the Civil Service, representing some 2% of the total number of Government employees. It has all along been the Government's policy to give preference to disabled persons over other candidates if they are found to be suitable for the job. In addition, disabled persons who are found suitable for a particular post may be recommended for appointment even though, owing to their disabilities, they may not be able to perform the duties of every post in the same rank.

We do not have figures on the number of disabled persons employed by various public organizations and private enterprises. The findings of our enquiry show that public organizations do not require disabled persons to indicate whether they have a disability when applying for employment. Apart from a few organizations, most of them do not compile statistical returns or maintain records specifically on the number of employees with a disability. However, they reiterate that their policy is to ensure that disabled persons are given equal employment opportunities.
Last revision date: 22 November 2000
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