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Parliamentary Replies

Public Sector Employment for Elderly and Persons With Disabilities

14 Jul 2015
Parliamentary Question by Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance whether an inter-Ministry task force can be convened to actively identify and grant public sector contracts and jobs suitable for disabled and elderly citizens and to recognise the public agencies who will do so on a sustainable basis.

Parliamentary Question by Ms Chia Yong Yong: 

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) what is the current number of persons with disabilities employed in the Civil Service and the percentage when computed against the current total employment number within the Civil Service; and (b) whether the Civil Service has specific plans to redesign jobs with a view to employing persons with disabilities. 

Reply by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

The Public Service selects candidates based on their merit and job-fit through open and fair recruitment processes. Candidates, including persons with disabilities, are assessed holistically and the best person for the job will be offered the position.

As of 31 December 2014, there are about 150 persons with disabilities employed by Ministries and Statutory Boards. They constitute about 0.1% of the Public Service workforce.

In addition to the Public Service’s direct recruitment of persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Social and Family Development has also set up SG Enable, an agency that helps persons with disabilities to be independent and gain employment. SG Enable engages both public and private sector employers, provides job matching services, identifies and where appropriate, redesigns jobs for persons with disabilities.  It also trains persons with disabilities to prepare them for work. Two of its recent successful referrals were to the Ministry of Social and Family Development and to the Ministry of Home Affairs. In addition, SG Enable provides training to colleagues of persons with disabilities and advice on appropriate workplace modifications. For example, screen magnification software can be used to help employees with visual impairment and height-adjustable tables can help employees in wheelchairs.

Whenever possible, public sector contracts have been awarded to support the employment of persons with disabilities. For example, Adrenalin, an events management company that provides training and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, has several public agencies among its clients and organised events such as the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award ceremony. Public agencies have also, at different times, procured corporate gifts made by voluntary welfare organisations and persons with disabilities under Heartgifts initiative, led by the National Council of Social Service.

The public sector will continue to support and encourage the employment of persons with disabilities wherever possible, and welcomes suggestions on how it can do better.   

For our mature workforce, the Public Service has since July 2011 taken the lead to offer re-employment to officers up to age 65 years. This was ahead of national legislation which took effect from January 2012.  Since January 2015, the Public Service has further raised the re-employment age from 65 to 67 years, again ahead of nationwide implementation. There are now 1,887 public officers aged 65 and above, compared to 534 in 2010. This is a three-fold increase over four years and we expect the number to grow further.