Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to PQ on Efforts at Encouraging Companies to be more Inclusive to Individuals with Autism
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1718 OF 2019 FOR THE SITTING ON 08 JULY 2019
QUESTION NO. 2919 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Miss Cheng Li Hui
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what are the current efforts to help companies be more inclusive to individuals with autism; (b) how can the Government and society partner each other to help autistic individuals gain employment and better integrate into the workforce; and (c) whether, and how, the tripartite partners are further stepping up their efforts to help autistic individuals train, re-skill and gain meaningful employment amidst economic uncertainty and transformation.
- As the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development said in his earlier reply to Miss Cheng, the Government works closely with the people and private sector to raise awareness of autism and provide support to persons with autism.
- To help autistic individuals gain employment, the Government provides up to 16% wage subsidy, through the Special Employment Credit, to employers who hire persons with disabilities (PwDs), including persons with autism. There is an additional 6% subsidy for PwDs aged 67 and above.
- PwDs seeking employment may also tap on programmes under MOM’s Adapt and Grow initiative, such as the Open Door Programme (ODP) and Career Trial.
- ODP, which is administered by SG Enable with funding support from Workforce Singapore (WSG), provides job placement and job support services for PwDs and their employers. PwDs can tap on the job matching, training and other support services provided by partner organisations, including the Autism Resource Centre. At the same time, employers may receive grant support for job redesign and training. From January 2016 to March 2019, more than 2,000 PwDs were placed with close to 750 employers through ODP.
- Some employers and PwDs may have reservations about job fit and suitability of the work environment. To address these concerns, Career Trial provides opportunities for employers and PwDs to try out each other and assess job fit. During the trial, which can be up to three months, jobseekers receive a training allowance from the Government.
- There are also ongoing efforts to help PwDs, including persons with autism, integrate into the workforce. Last month, MOM and SG Enable launched the Job Redesign Guide for Inclusive Employers. The Guide provides step-by-step information for companies on how they can redesign jobs to do so – for instance, through changes to the workplace or working arrangements. SG Enable also runs disability management workshops and a biennial Inclusive Business Forum to equip employers with knowledge and skills on how to recruit PwDs and integrate them into the workforce.
- The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has set up a Workgroup, comprising members from the people, private and public sectors, to explore ways to better support PwDs in gaining employment. The Workgroup is co-chaired by Minister of State for Social and Family Development, Mr Sam Tan, and President of the Autism Resource Centre, Ms Denise Phua. MOM and WSG are part of this Workgroup, and will continue to work closely with MSF, SG Enable and community partners to improve employment opportunities for PwDs.