WORKERS SORT products at an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Tracy, California early this month.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Economy Ministry is introducing a grants program to encourage employers to hire people with disabilities. As part of the program, businesses can receive wage subsidies for hiring hire the disabled.
“The low percentage of employees with disabilities in the labor force requires greater government intervention, that will encourage more employers to integrate them into the workforce,” said Amit Lang, director-general of the Economy Ministry.
According to the Economy Ministry, disabled people account for 18% of the working age population, some 750,000 people.
“This is a very important social and economic task and I expect that the increase in grants alongside making the program accessible to many more employers will lead to cooperation on the part of the employers,” he added.
To date, only employers who had hired more than five full-time disabled employees were eligible for the grants for a 30-month period.
The program will remove the limitation on the minimum number of employees required to receive the grants as well as extend the subsidy period to 36 months. In addition, the plan will also allow for employers to hire part-time workers.
The ministry has allocated NIS 5 million to expanding the plan and will subsidize 45% of an employee’s wages in the first year, 33% in the second year, and 22% in the third year - with an average of a subsidy of 33% of employees’ wages.
In addition, the ministry increased the maximum salary to receive the subsidy from NIS 15,000 to NIS 16,000.
“I see great importance in the new program, which will increase the scope of employment of people with disabilities and will help absorb new quality workers into the workforce. Now, what is left is for the employers to pick up the glove and to progress regarding the employment of workers with disabilities,” said Asher Shitrit, deputy-director of the Investment Center, and director of employment programs at the Economy Ministry.