Firms face law to hire mentally disabled ranks

JIJI

The labor ministry will submit a bill that will require companies and public offices to employ mentally disabled people starting in April 2018, ministry officials said Thursday.

The plan was approved at a meeting of the ministry’s Labor Policy Council subcommittee on employment of the disabled.

The plan reflects a growing desire by the mentally disabled to be employed, the officials said.

To put the plan in place, the ministry intends to submit a bill to revise the law for employment promotion of the disabled during the ongoing session of the Diet, which ends in June.

This will be the first major revision to the law since 1998, when employment of people with intellectual disabilities became mandatory.

The law obliges companies to hire disabled people to account for at least 1.8 percent of their workforces, a minimum rate that is set to rise to 2.0 percent in April.

The minimum rate is set based on the number of physically or intellectually disabled people who want to work.

The ministry intends to raise the rate further by including mentally disabled people willing to work.

Some 630,000 people have certificates of mental disability in Japan.