A raft of new employment rules set to take effect on Saturday will provide an additional 4,400 jobs for disabled people, Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said yesterday.
Wang made the remarks while visiting a Taipei 7-Eleven convenience store to express her gratitude for the franchise’s long-term employment of the physically and mentally challenged.
Wang said the work rights of disabled people are protected by three laws — the Labor Standards Law (勞動基準法), the Disabled Employment Protection Act (身心障礙者權益保護法) that sets the required ratio of disabled people in the total work forces of public agencies and private corporations, and a provision in the Employment Service Act (就業服務法) that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
Under the present regulations, Wang said, public and private organizations should employ a combined total of 34,000 people with mental or physical disabilities.
“In fact, 50,000 mentally or physically challenged people are employed, indicating that Taiwan has many kind-hearted or conscientious companies that have hired extra disabled workers,” Wang said.
For most people, having a job simply means self-recognition, but for the disabled, a job can mean social acceptance, she said.
During the visit yesterday to the convenience store, Wang ordered a cup of coffee and was served by Chen Yi-ju (陳憶如), the store’s deputy manager, who has a severe hearing impairment and filled Wang’s order by communicating through lip-reading, writing and sign language.
Chen joined President Chain Store Corp — which operates Taiwan’s 7-Eleven stores — as a part-time worker 15 years ago and has worked her way up to her current post as a result of dedicated and outstanding service.
Lai Nan-pei (賴南貝), the 7-Eleven chain’s deputy general manager, said the company now employs 224 disabled workers, far higher than the minimum number of 60 required by the existing law. Among them, 28 are full-time workers who have been with the firm for an average of 11 years.
From Saturday, a public agency with a work force of 34 or more employees is obliged to have at least 3 percent of the payroll filled by disabled people, while private organizations or corporations that have a work force of 67 or more should have at least 1 percent of the payroll filled by disabled employees.