March 25th 2019
Japan’s Health Ministry will accredit small and mid-size companies that actively work to incorporate people with disabilities into their workplaces, under its new recognition system related to employment of the disabled people.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry expects the system to boost the social valuation of smaller businesses that make efforts to create a better working environment for the disabled, thereby promoting greater employment overall for people with disabilities.
The government has submitted a draft revision of the Law for Promotion of Employment of Persons with Disabilities to the current Diet session, aiming to see it enforced in fiscal 2020.
Criteria for accreditation include barrier-free access to a company’s facilities, such as setting up slopes; the creation of jobs that utilize disabled people’s abilities; and the creation of an employment plan to promote disabled people’s active job involvement. Companies with up to 300 employees will be eligible for accreditation.
Accredited companies can place a mark to that effect on their products and ads, to promote themselves as a firm actively working toward disabled people’s employment.
The existing law requires companies to hire a specific percentage of disabled people. The current quota is 2.2 percent, and meeting this condition will be a key criteria for accreditation.
The creation of this system was prompted by the fact that the employment rate for disabled people varies among companies. According to a ministry survey, as of June 2017 when the rate was set at 2.0 percent, 62 percent of big companies with 1,000 employees or more had achieved this level, while 46.5 percent of smaller companies that hire between 50 and 99 people had reached it.
The survey found that the smaller the company, the lower the achievement rate.
A lack of information about the type of jobs appropriate for disabled employees, as well as proper conditions for their work environment, seems to be one of the causes of sluggish growth in the employment rate among smaller businesses. The ministry tries to share such information through its website and other means, introducing progressive cases of disabled people’s employment.