NA deputies disagree on recruitment of disabled people

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National Assembly representatives on Tuesday could not reach consensus on whether to approve a bill that encourages businesses to employ disabled people.

An amended version of the 1998 Ordinance of the Disabled, the draft states companies are encouraged to employ people with disabilities instead of being required to have them account for two percent of their workforce.

However, Bui Sy Loi, deputy head of the National Assembly's Social Affairs Committee, said it's already difficult to ask companies to follow the requirement of the ordinance, and it'll be much harder if it was changed to mere "encouragement."

"[We] have to be firmer, requiring companies to recruit disabled people for a certain percentage of their workforce," Loi said.

Representative Le Van Cuong from the central province of Thanh Hoa, on the other hand, said the regulation requiring two percent of workforce comprise disabled workers was not advisable.

Most of companies are using assembly lines, which makes it hard to employ the disabled, although they are aware of their responsibilities towards disadvantaged people, Cuong argued.

"It's suitable to put it as encouragement," he said. "The state should support those who can obtain a certain percentage [disabled people out of their workforce]; while those don't recruit them can sponsor them with money."

Agreeing with Cuong, Hanoi deputy Le Hong Son stressed that state-owned organizations were the most suitable working place for the disabled.

Legislators also expressed concern that many regulations in the draft were too idealistic, failing to address several practical problems that need more specific regulations.

Loi, for instance, said it was possible to ask new public works to be built so that the disabled can use them easily, but not practical to require all the old ones to be adjusted accordingly as stated in the draft.

He asked: "With such a regulation who will be in charge of doing it and where will the money come from? "

Cuong, on the other hand, was concerned about the draft's categorization of the disabled in order to formulate preferential policies. He said some people were likely to take advantage of the rules to make fake documents about their health condition to unduly benefit from the policies.

In fact, many people have been found bribing doctors for health verification of their impairment, especially mental disorders, Cuong added.

Tran Van Nam, representative from the southern province of Binh Duong, proposed that draft makers make more specific requirements of infrastructure, human resources and financial capacity for a social welfare center to be established.

This will help prevent the establishment of centers that mainly target donations, and have no genuine interest in helping the disabled.

"In our province there are districts where people have applied for setting up between six and seven centers," Nam said.

"Although we know it's abnormal, we could not help granting them licenses because there were no legal grounds to do so."

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