Equal opportunities

The government efforts to reduce and retract financial support for employees with disabilities, once employed, is to help them survive “by their own efforts”, news agency Lusa reports.
“Many legislators are aware of the [disabled employees] situation of losing their pension or subsidy when they find work. We have a life incentive plan: when they find work, we discount the amounts according to reality. We don’t immediately cut their pensions or subsidies; we decrease little by little so that they can survive by their own efforts,”stated Social Welfare Bureau President Celeste Vong Yim Mui during a Legislative Assembly (AL) plenary session, said Lusa.
The government currently offers two types of disability subsidy, provided once annually, with one MOP7,500 and a separate special disability subsidy of MOP15,000, according to information from the Social Welfare Bureau.
However, problems still exist in finding work for those with disabilities even in public administration, as noted by Legislator Chan Hong, stating that a subsidy cut wouldn’t “motivate them to find work”, while Legislator Ng Kuok Cheong proposed a system where “the cut wouldn’t be total for anyone who finds a job position,” said Lusa.
In April of last year the Association for People with Disabilities in Macau criticised the proposal, saying that it would have a negative impact as many people with disabilities receive low salaries, with the government responding that the approved plan for fiscal benefits for companies who hire disabled people will still be enforced.
Legislators noted that currently only 0.2 per cent of public administration employees are disabled, enquiring as to what measures will be put in place to facilitate the hiring of disabled individuals by public administration, Lusa reported
“In the public administration, the principle of equality is applied to all candidates; everything is evaluated with regard to the applicants’ capacities. If people with disabilities have the requirements they can be hired,” a representative from the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP) mentioned, adding that currently 73 individuals with disabilities work full-time in public administration, Lusa said.
Legislators criticised the government’s inflexibility and suggested a more “innovative” approach by the authorities, with Legislator Jose Pereira Coutinho suggesting a “fixed quota for public administration” with certain jobs reserved for people with disabilities.
“If the government doesn’t provide a good example, other companies, such as gaming operators, won’t do it. It’s not enough to say that the equality principle is applied,” Legislator Coutinho stated, according to Lusa.