The Seoul Metropolitan Government and its sixteen affiliate agencies have decided to appoint disabled people to 10% of their new positions every year, with the goal of increasing the number of disabled employees to 6% (5% for its affiliates), i.e., double the legal disabled persons employment requirement for public agencies.
In 2012, the Seoul Metropolitan Government filled 10% (80 people) of its new positions with disabled people. Its sixteen affiliates will follow suit in 2013. As of the end of August 2012, the rate of disabled employees of the government was 4.17%, exceeding the legal requirement, whereas the average rate of its affiliates was less than the legal mandate, at 2.81%.
The disabled population in Seoul is around 400,000, while nationally the disabled account for 5% of the population (2.5 million people). Yet the truth is that systematic research, surveys and support measures for the employment of disabled people in Seoul have been greatly lacking.
With the active support of the city council, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has enacted a new ordinance, the Seoul Special Metropolitan Government Employment Promotion and Vocational Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons Act, which is designed to improve the employment rate of the disabled in the city’s private sector from the current level of 1.97%, which is lower than the national average of 2.25%.
The new ordinance has provided a legal framework for more active support for the employment of disabled people by private employers in the city: existing or potential employers are now entitled not only to financial assistance for any additional workplace installation and operational costs incurred by their employment of disabled persons, but also to priority allocation of Small & Medium Size Firm’s Promotion Fund and other SME support funds.
The Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled will take more aggressive measures to boost employment of the disabled in the city. It will provide vocational development and civil service training, recruiting services and a one-stop service for the disabled, as well as education designed to enable ordinary citizens to change their perception of disability. The agency will also provide disabled people who work in the city’s affiliate agencies with essential devices such as Braille computers free of charge.
The municipal government announced “Hope Seoul’s Comprehensive Plan for Disabled People” in April 2012. In recognition of the idea that the best welfare for the disabled is employment, it offers private companies that employ disabled people additional points in its evaluation of public bids. It also reflects the employment rate of disabled people in its selection of companies to run the city’s public welfare facilities as well as in its evaluation of the management status of its affiliate agencies. In addition, in order to create more than 1,000 new jobs for the disabled in the city by 2014, particularly in the areas of IT, office administration and civil service assistance, the municipal government is involved in long-term employment creation projects with public institutions and private companies based in the city.
Most notably, the city government recently provided a course designed to improve the public’s perception of disability and attitudes towards the disabled and as a mandatory course for all of its officials. The Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled will provide the city with both the instructors and the online education contents for the course.