The labor ministry has unveiled draft legislation to require companies to employ people with mental disorders in addition to those with physical or intellectual disabilities.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which presented the outline to a meeting Wednesday of a Liberal Democratic Party panel, aims to submit the bill to revise the law for employment promotion of people with disabilities to the Diet in early April, for introduction in April 2018.
Under current law, employers are required to hire physically and intellectually disabled people, but not those with mental disorders.
The change will apply to people officially certified as an impaired person with such disorders as severe depression and schizophrenia.
The ministry is seeking to expand the scope of the requirement, as the number of job seekers with mental disorders is on the rise, totaling about 49,000 in fiscal 2011, up 7.8-fold from fiscal 2002.
Currently, the disabled are required by law to make up 1.8 percent of the workforce of private-sector firms, which will be raised to 2.0 percent in April.