The three objectives are defined as empowering people of determination to work on an equal footing with others; indicating the obligations of governmental and private bodies to recognise this right in accordance with the legislation in force; and providing the necessary support to those looking for equal opportunities in different sectors or those already employed or wishing to establish a business.
Buhumaid said the ministry is coordinating with development funds across the country, such as Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, to help finance projects of people of determination.
She highlighted that authorities are also working on mechanisms to attract, qualify and train people of determination within a positive and stimulating work environment. The policy involves advertising job vacancies and introducing people of determination to the private sector to integrate them and grant them the exemptions, privileges and incentives assigned to them.
The Recruitment Platform for People of Determination for Entities and Individuals launched earlier already registered 195 disabled jobseekers with 29 government and private entities where the matching is currently happening.
Buhumaid noted that the platform is helping the ministry create a database of disabled jobseekers. The platform, she said, is a bridging system that enables private and public entities to access capabilities, skills and experiences of disabled jobseekers to offer them the right job opportunity and provide them with the right training.
"The aim is not to just give them accessibility to the workplace, but to guarantee that they reserve their positions for a long period just like any other employee," said Buhumaid.
The Ministerial Decree No. 43 of 2018, published last August, goes a step further than existing UAE government initiatives such as the National Strategy for Empowering People with Disabilities and Dubai's Disability Strategy 2020 by giving people of determination the legal right to be equal to other employees in the workplace.
The employment policy focuses on creating proper working environments that facilitate access to people of determination through office designs and tools that enable them perform their work on an equal footing with others. It also seeks to provide suitable housing or means of transportation to the workplace and rehabilitation in a manner that corresponds to their needs.
Buhumaid said the policy will grant them the right to evaluate their performance in accordance with performance management systems in place and provide them the right to promotions, bonuses, and other perks. It will help create a system that allows flexible working hours for those who find it difficult to complete the official working hours, but in a manner that does not contradict the laws in force.
"The policy determines the people of determination's rights and dictates their duties just like any other segment of the society. People of determination are empowered in the UAE, they aren't marginalised or distinguished just for being different," said Buhumaid. She noted that the policy formed recognises the role of people of determination in contributing to the country's progress.
A regulatory system
Buhumaid confirmed that the ministry will be working closely with entities and conducting field visits to ensure smooth recruitment of people of determination.
She said now that the ministry introduced 11 categories of different disabilities with detailed studies on each type, it will enable companies place employees on a much larger scale of jobs. "We can't label people of determination. Sometimes they are more capable to prove themselves beyond our expectations," she said.
The ministry's website allows federal, local and private entities to state the skills they are looking for in an employee of determination. In return, the ministry helps companies find the right candidates.
The ministry has also provided facilities and the technical means to enable stakeholders to access and participate easily and effectively at conferences, meetings and events so as not to deprive disabled candidates of training and exchange of experiences enjoyed by their colleagues.
The policy of employing people of determination comes in line with the objectives of the UAE Vision 2021 and seeks to transition from social care to social development.
What decree No. 43 of 2018 states
>Provide safe and healthy working conditions for people of determination to protect them from various forms of harassment, exploitation or discrimination at any stage
>Enable them to continue their careers until the age of retirement in accordance with the legislation
>Hiring practices should be transparent and conducted with utmost care to ensure that prejudicial or biased perceptions of such persons' abilities do not affect the outcome of the interview
>Promote vacancies to allow people of determination equal access to them
>Give them ample opportunity for promotions, as well as given proper support in attending and presenting at conferences, workshops and events
More power to them
Physical disabilities shouldn't hinder anyone from achieving their full potential. Yet people of determination many a times are looked down on when opportunities come. There are no bigger barriers to success than the ones we erect in our own minds. The decision to fund ventures and build a registry of people of determination should open doors of opportunities for many and give power to people to realise their dreams. But there is just so much the government can do. Private sector must step in, too.
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