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Turkey seeks to get more jobs for disabled workers

The Minister of Family and Social Policies is working to eliminate obstacles that disabled face in getting a job

21.10.2014
Turkey seeks to get more jobs for disabled workers

ISTANBUL

Turkey is ramping up its effort to integrate more of the country’s 8.5 million disabled citizens into the workforce, the Minister of Family and Social Policies said on Tuesday.

“The ministry has recently examined developed countries’ policies for the employment of the disabled. We aim to eliminate the obstacles that disabled citizens face in getting a job,” explained Minister Aysenur Islam.

The minister spoke at a meeting in which Turkish Garanti Bank announced the project ‘Support for Employment,’ aiming to help disabled people find jobs according to their skills, characteristics and choices. Over 300 disabled citizens will be employed under the supervision of professionals in five provinces in Turkey under the bank's program.

Islam said the ministry plays the role of match-maker for the prospective employers of the disabled. However, prejudice persists against disabled employees, and they earn lower wages than their colleagues, the Minister pointed out.

“One problem," comments Havva Orhan, a coordinator at the Physically Disabled Foundation, "is that companies are looking for qualified disabled employees. There are so few qualified disabled workers. Another problem is that disabled workers are offered relatively lower wages, in different types of packages, than their colleagues.”

Twelve percent of Turkey’s population is disabled. Employment is one of the major issues that challenge them.

More than 75 percent of disabled people are unable to participate in the workforce, according to Turkey’s Family and Social Policies Ministry. Yet fifty percent of disabled people want to work in suitable positions, according to research in 2010 by the Turkish Statistic Institute.

The government introduced a work quota scheme in 2005 for private companies and public institutions, obliging them to employ a certain number of disabled people. For example, companies that employ more than 50 people are expected to hire at least two disabled persons.

The state has also introduced various incentives, such as tax cuts, for those private companies that employ disabled people.

A new website (www.isdunyasindabendevarim.com) that was launched four years ago in order to provide disabled people with employment opportunities has helped over 100 disabled workers to find jobs, said Ayhan Isik, the founder of the website.

“Due to their physical handicaps, the disabled people have hard time going to interviews and meeting prospective employers. Instead they upload a one-minute video in which they describe their skills on our website. This is an online platform where employers and disabled workers meet and get to know each other,” Isik said.

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