What’s next after Indonesia’s new disability law: disability management in the workplace

Indonesia recently celebrated the birth of the country’s new disability law with the enactment of Law No. 8/2016 on Persons with Disabilities on 18 April 2016. The Law marks a significant movement – if not historical – in shifting national’s perspective towards persons with disabilities from social-based to human rights-based approach.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 30 April 2016
Indonesia recently celebrated the birth of the country’s new disability law with the enactment of Law No. 8/2016 on Persons with Disabilities on 18 April 2016. The Law marks a significant movement – if not historical – in shifting national’s perspective towards persons with disabilities from social-based to human rights-based approach.

Based on the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities that was ratified by the Government of Indonesia in 2011, the law sees the rights of persons with disabilities as inseparable from the equal rights of all members of the human family, including the access to employment opportunities.

To ensure an equal access to employment, the ILO has a long standing commitment to promoting decent work for people with disabilities. Through its Irish-Aid funded Project on Promoting Rights and Opportunities for People with Disabilities in Employment through Legislation (PROPEL), the ILO promotes better work and employment opportunities created for men and women with disabilities, through the creation of an enabling legal and policy environment, the promotion of skills development opportunities and measures to eliminate discrimination.

“As Indonesia is moving positively and steadily towards the creation of an inclusive society, the next thing on the agenda is to ensure the establishment of a conducive workplace for workers with disabilities, including promoting the occupational safety and health (OSH) and improving working conditions for persons with disabilities,” said Santy Otto, the ILO’s Project Coordinator on Disability, adding that the ILO continues to support the Government of Indonesia on disability and employment related issues considering the ILO-PROPEL recently came to an end in March 2016.

Elli, only one name, an assistant master data at PT Tetra Pak Stainless Equipment, said that OSH component should adapt to the working condition by also adjusting to the physical and mental health capacity of the workers. She gave an example of her own workplace that is accessible, disability-friendly and safe for all workers with different types of disability. “Here at Tetra Pak, the voice emergency is placed in parallel with me sitting in a wheelchair. In a case of emergency, I can use the voice emergency and call for a help. The elevator is also equipped with braille signs although there is no blind worker,” she explained.

Looking into the example of Elli, it shows that employees have the right to be provided with reasonable adjustments, not only for them to work productively, but also to protect their safety while working. Unfortunately, some companies are still reluctant adjusted their workplaces due to high cost and expenses that should be borne by the companies.

“The fact is that workplace adjustments are not expensive and can even be done without any cost. The ILO has published a code of practice titled “Managing disability in the workplace” to guide employers to adapt a positive strategy in managing disability related issues in the workplace,” Santy said.

Through strengthen cooperation and collaboration among key labour actors—government, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and other relevant partners such as disabled persons’ organization, the effective implementation of OSH for persons with disabilities at the workplace can be achieved that, in turn, will provide more equal opportunities for persons with disabilities in aspects of life.

Reference:
ILO’s Code of Practice - Managing Disability in the Workplace