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Singapore Government

Employment

Employment

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Header banner for Employment, depicting an Indian lady, a service worker, a chef, and a businessman in a wheelchair around a table.

Prior to the Job Placement and Job Support offered under the Open Door Programme in 2014, then-MCYS and NCSS co-funded the Vocational Assessment Division (VAD) and Employment Placement Division (EPD) run by BizLink Centre to provide employment services.
  • The VAD and EPD provided vocational assessment, job preparation, placement and support to persons with disabilities seeking employment.
  • With the ODP, three JPJS providers are able to support three distinct groups of persons with disabilities – Persons with physical and sensory disabilities; Persons with Intellectual Disabilities; and Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In July 2006, the Engaging persons with disabilities in Employment Fund (ENABLE fund) was launched.
  • This fund provided funding assistance to employers to redesign jobs, modify workplaces, or implement training when they employ persons with disabilities.
  • The ENABLE fund was renamed the Open Door Fund (ODF) in May 2007, and was launched by then-MCYS and the Workforce Development Agency (WDA). In 2014, the ODF was expanded to the Open Door Programme.

In 2007, NCSS formed the Enabling Employers’ Network (EEN) to champion the employment of persons with disabilities.
  • Then- Minister (CYS) had given approval to extend EEN for another term from 11 December 2010 to 10 December 2012 and appointed / re-appointed EEN members recommended by NCSS.
  • Two Centres for Training and Integration (CTIs) were launched in July 2010, and the EEN has engaged more than 100 companies from various industries, to commit to more than 400 employment opportunities for persons with disabilities since April 2009.

In 2007, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) developed a set of Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP), with the support of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation.
  • Singapore addresses workplace discrimination, including that experienced by persons with disabilities, through a two-pronged strategy of education and enforcement.
  • The TGFEP sets out the principles and practices that all employers are expected to abide by to prevent discrimination at the workplace, which covers areas such as recruitment, performance appraisal, promotion and dismissal. These apply to all workers, including those with disabilities.

Government funding helped sheltered workshops run by Social Service Agencies (SSAs) to provide work opportunities, skills training and work therapy to more persons with disabilities.
  • As at November 2020, there are 8 sheltered workshops that support persons with disabilities who require a longer runway to be ready for open employment by providing skills training and work therapy.

In 2007, the Open Door Fund was launched to help employers undertake workplace modification, job redesign and job support. This was renamed and enhanced to become the Open Door Programme (ODP), administered by SG Enable, in November 2014.
  • The ODP supports employers in hiring, training and integrating employees with disabilities into the workforce. Between 2014 and 2020, more than 3,000 persons with disabilities were placed into jobs under the ODP. 
  • More information on the support available for employers and employees can be found in the tables below.
    For Employers
    Job Placement and Job Support (JPJS) Services
    • SG Enable and its JPJS partners will provide up to one year of complimentary recruitment and job support services to support persons with disabilities as well as employers in recruitment and retention.
    Training Grant for SG Enable’s list of curated training courses
    • Supports training providers, including companies and Social Service Agencies (SSAs) with training capabilities to provide skills training for persons with disabilities to enhance employment and employability, and build up the capabilities and confidence of employers to hire persons with disabilities.
    • Course fee support of up to 90% for co-workers to develop their capabilities and confidence in hiring and integrating persons with disabilities into the workplace.
    Job Redesign Grant
    • Covers up to 90% of costs incurred, capped at $20,000 per person with disabilities hired, to support employers to redesign the job, purchase new equipment, or modify the workplace to be more conducive for persons with disabilities.

    For Persons with Disabilities
    Job Placement and Job Support (JPJS) Services
    • Appointed JPJS agencies (namely the Autism Resource Centre (ARC), MINDS and SPD) provide free job coaching and vocational assessment to persons with disabilities to establish his or her job readiness, identify possible training and career options, and conduct job matching. Post-placement support for up to one year is also provided for employed persons with disabilities. This programme ensures that persons with disabilities adjust well in their workplaces.
    • Collectively, the three JPJS agencies serve jobseekers with physical/sensory disability, intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder.
    Training Grant for SG Enable’s list of curated training courses
    • Recently enhanced in July 2020, with:
      • Increase of course fee subsidies from 90% to 95%, and training allowance from $4.50 to $6 per hour.
      • Training allowance eligibility was extended beyond unemployed persons with disabilities to include those in employment, and a training commitment award of $100 per completed course introduced to encourage persons with disabilities to take up training.
    • Close to 450 persons with disabilities benefited from the ODP Training Grant in 2020. 

In 2008, The IT Apprenticeship Programme (ITAP) which offers vocational and vocational training and apprenticeship was introduced. This programme is run by the Society for the Physically Disabled.
  • NCSS appointed NTUC LHub to customise employability skills training for persons with disabilities. NCSS will be working with suitable partners to roll out vocational training in food & beverage and landscape industries.

In 2010, MOE incorporated relevant pre-vocational and vocational training as part of the special education school curriculum.
  • Since 2010, a majority of students from two SPED schools - Delta Senior School and Metta School - are able to achieve national certification to enhance their employability.
  • In 2011, MOE introduced the Vocational Education Framework, which outlined a structured curriculum for early vocational preparation starting at age 13 years in schools serving students with mild intellectual disability. The curriculum focuses on social emotional competencies, vocational guidance, employability skills, work exposure and work experience.
  • Over the years, SPED schools serving students of diverse disability profiles have implemented the vocational education curriculum to strengthen the Working Outcomes of their students.
  • By 2023, MOE will release a new syllabus for Vocational Education. One key feature of the curriculum will be soft skills training for work readiness. 
  • View the stories of youths who have benefitted from the vocational training. 

In 2012, MOM extended the Workfare Income Supplement Scheme (WIS) to persons with disabilities.
  • WIS encourages eligible lower-wage workers, including those with disabilities, to work regularly and build up their CPF savings by providing monthly cash supplements and CPF top-ups. The scheme was enhanced in January 2020, with the qualifying ceiling raised to $2,300 per month, and higher annual payouts of up to $4,000 per year. 
  • In 2020, close to 6,800 Singaporeans with disabilities benefitted from WIS.

In 2012, MOM extended the Special Employment Credit (SEC) to cover persons with disabilities. In 2015, the Additional SEC (ASEC) was introduced to enhance support for employers retaining older workers and workers with disabilities beyond the re-employment age.
  • To encourage employers to hire and retain persons with disabilities, the SEC and ASEC provides wage offsets to employers hiring persons with disabilities earning below $4,000 a month. The SEC provides an automatic wage offset of up to 16% for persons with disabilities aged below 67, and up to 22% for persons with disabilities aged 67 and over.
  • In 2020, close to 6,100 employers received SEC and ASEC for hiring more than 9,200 Singaporeans with disabilities. This number has increased from 2012, when SEC was paid to around 3,200 employers hiring about 5,000 Singaporeans with disabilities.
  •  The SEC and ASEC have been replaced by the Enabling Employment Credit (EEC) since 2021.  

Since 2014, SG Enable has introduced new training, online resources and employment capability building initiatives for inclusive employers.
  • SG Enable conducts the Disability Awareness Talk and SG Enable High Impact Retention and Employment (HIRE) workshop series. Resources produced include the Disability Etiquette Guides, Starter Kit for Employers, online HRM series, Job Redesign Guide for Inclusive Employers and Enabling Work app.

In 2014, SG Enable introduced the Enabling Employers Awards to recognise the efforts of inclusive employers.
  • Held biennially, these national Awards by SG Enable recognise the efforts of organisations and individuals who have demonstrated commitment toward hiring and integrating persons with disabilities in the workforce.
  • In July 2019, the 5th Enabling Employers Awards recognised a record 111 winners, an increase of over 50% from 2017.

In 2016, SG Enable launched the biennial Inclusive Business Forum (IBF).
  • This biennial event showcases inclusive hiring journeys by professionals representing companies from different industries and sectors. It is a call to all employers to explore more inclusive hiring and help persons with disabilities improve their skills and employment prospects.

New tools and programmes to strengthen employers’ capabilities in hiring and managing employees with disabilities.

In 2017, SG Enable rolled out the Workplace Disability Inclusive Index for employers.
  • The Workplace Disability Inclusive Index is a self-assessment tool for organisations to assess their readiness for inclusive hiring and help them identify areas of improvement.

In 2017, in collaboration with public sector agencies, SG Enable launched the Public Service Career Placement programme.
  • This provides job matching services for persons with disabilities who are interested to pursue a career in the public service sector. After placement, job support services will be provided when necessary.

Since 2019, inclusive businesses renting HDB premises can receive rental discounts under HDB’s support for social enterprises and SMEs with inclusive hiring practices.
  • Social enterprises which are members of The Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) can apply for direct allocation of an HDB shop or office space. In addition, SMEs members of raiSE can benefit from a 20% discount in monthly rental rates (up to a maximum discount of $12 per square metre) for the first 3 years of their tenancy. Interested Social Enterprises can contact raiSE at enquiries@raise.sg for more details.
  • Under a pilot scheme, businesses committed to hiring persons with disabilities for at least 20% of their manpower on the premises, will also be able to apply for direct allocation of HDB shops or office spaces. Similar to Social Enterprises, SMEs with inclusive hiring practices will also enjoy a 20% discount in monthly rental rates (up to a maximum discount of $12 per square metre) for the first 3 years of their tenancy). Interested businesses can contact SG Enable at opendoor@sgenable.sg for more details.

In October 2020, SG Enable launched the Enabling Mark.
  • The Enabling Mark is a national-level accreditation framework that benchmarks and recognises employers for their best practices and outcomes in disability-inclusive employment. Depending on the overall maturity of an organisation in disability inclusion, it will be awarded a Silver, Gold or Platinum Enabling Mark. Organisations will also receive an individualised report with recommendations to support their disability inclusion journey.

In 2021, MOM introduced a new wage offset scheme, the Enabling Employment Credit (EEC)
  •  The EEC replaces the wage offsets under the SEC and ASEC after they expire in December 2020. 
  • It will be paid to employers of Singaporean persons with disabilities aged 13 and above, and earning below $4,000. The EEC quantum is 20% of each eligible employee's monthly income, capped at a maximum of $400 per month per employee. 
  • In addition, employers who hire persons with disabilities who have not been in employment for the past six months will receive an additional wage offset of up to 10%, capped at $200 per month per employee, for the first six months of employment. 

Growing like-minded alliances in businesses and spurring a virtuous cycle of inclusion by recognising and supporting employers’ efforts.

In 2019, MOM and SG Enable launched the Job Redesign Guide for Inclusive Employers.
  • To help persons with disabilities integrate into the workforce, the guide provides step-by-step tips for inclusive employers to redesign jobs that lead to improvement in employee productivity. It has case studies of organisations with best practices and also includes information on available grants and support for employers.

In 2020, the President’s Challenge was launched with the theme of empowering persons with disabilities.
  • Under the President’s Challenge, more than 140 employers across industries committed to building a more inclusive workforce for people with disabilities by signing the President's Challenge Enabling Employment Pledge.
  • Funds raised through the President’s Challenge will go to a variety of initiatives by 72 organisations to support and empower persons with disabilities, including the Extraordinary Apprenticeship Programme – a partnership between Extraordinary People, Pan Pacific Hotels Group, Samsui Kitchen, Tropic Planners and Landscapes and ArtSE.

Ensuring workers with disabilities are prepared for the future economy

In July 2019, MSF launched a cross-sectoral Workgroup to look at how to better prepare persons with disabilities for the future economy.
  • The workgroup is co-chaired by then-MOS(SF) Sam Tan (2019-2020), Minister (SF) Masagos Zulkifli (2020-present) and President/ARC, Ms Denise Phua (2019-present), and comprises representatives from public agencies, disability SSAs, employers and academic institutions.
  • The Workgroup released its recommendations in 2021. 

Enhanced penalties to reduce instances of workplace discrimination. 

In January 2020, penalties for all forms of workplace discrimination were enhanced.
  • The enhancements include doubling the minimum debarment period for work pass applications by the errant employer to at least 12 months, and extending debarment to work pass renewals. In addition, MOM will prosecute employers and key personnel who make false declarations that they have considered all candidates fairly.
  • The penalties are part of Singapore’s two-pronged strategy of education and enforcement address workplace discrimination, including that experienced by persons with disabilities. The penalties complement the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP), which were developed in 2007 by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP). TAFEP works closely with MOM to follow up on each case of suspected workplace discrimination and employers who are found in breach of the TGFEP are duly penalised.
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