Companies avoid employing disabled workers with €10,000 'fee', says PL candidate

Labour candidate Steve Ellul proposes legal amendments to ensure more people with disabilities can enter labour force

Labour candidate Steve Ellul
Labour candidate Steve Ellul

Labour candidate for Europe Steve Ellul has said large Maltese firms were bypassing mandatory requirements to employ people with disabilities, by paying a contributory payment that was too low when compared to a worker’s salary.

During a debate organised by the Chamber of Commerce, Ellul said that at present one in every five persons dependent on unemployment benefits was a person with a disability.

“The situation continues in spite of a law which states that firms with over 50 workers require 2% of their workforce to be made up of people with disabilities. This law currently provides the possibility for a firm to pay a contribution with a limit of €10,000,” the candidate said.

Ellul proposed that this limit is removed and instead, make the contribution equivalent to the median wage of every worker that firms are obliged to employ by law. “We shouldn’t keep accepting the way that a few entrepreneurs bypass this law rather than act on it.”

Ellul said that in a situation of a limited workforce, as that in Malta, nobody should be excluded from the job market. “This is not charity. We have young people with disabilities that can be primary contributors in the Maltese industry,” Ellul said.

Ellul added that even government entities which employ over 50 people ought to provide people with disabilities employment opportunities. “The change in the law should take place in conjunction with training programmes – both for people with disabilities as well as for employers so they can be better placed in taking such a step. This is politics that makes a difference in people’s lives. It would be a victory for everyone,” Ellul said.

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