In The Media | 5 January 2017

How China trumps Australia when it comes to supporting disabled workers

Australia’s employment of people with disability, already among the lowest in the developed world, is worsening. It is time to overcome our squeamishness about quotas to address this embarrassing gap in our human rights.

Perhaps we need to learn from Chinese policy, which combines employment quotas and a levy on employers who do not comply.

All private and public employers in China who employ more than 20 staff must meet a quota of at least 1.5 per cent of employees with disability (quotas average 5 per cent in Europe). Employers who do not meet the quota must pay a levy, while those who exceed it attract concessions such as tax breaks and priority for state contracts, and lower costs such as concessional rent of government land.

The real game changer is the levy on employers who choose not to employ people with disability. Rather than adding to general taxation revenue, this levy is paid to the Disabled Persons’ Employment Security Fund, which is controlled by the Disabled Persons’ Federation. The levy has generated a huge fund for disability policy intervention, such as training, employment support and assistance.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald