South Korean emloyers shun the disabled

Jul 21 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Just the other day, I wrote about worldwide workplace problems, most notably the rampant sexual harassment in Singapore, and how it needed to be better addressed by authorities.

Now comes South Korea, which seems to have a thing against disabled people in the workplace, if an article in the Korea Times is to be believed.

According to government data, the current hiring rate for disabled people is 1.54%, which is under the required 2 percent. On a positive note, this is a better result based on earlier results from one year ago. What is disappointing is that it is the larger companies that are still quite reluctant to hire disabled people.

One might think that a larger company would have more resources with which to welcome a disabled employee. They would have worksites better adapted to meet specific needs, such as ramps or accessible toilets, etc.

The same cannot be said for smaller companies or shops, yet these are the ones who are most likely to hire a person with disabilities.

The government is taking steps to rectify such concerns; fines are now levied against companies that do not meet a minimum number of disabled employees. There is also a chance to win $1 million in subsidies for any company that creates an affiliate that hires severely handicapped people.

It will be interesting to see how many companies (large ones) decide to go for the big prize. If doing the right, or legal, thing isn't enough of a motivator, then perhaps a cash payout is.