By Dror Halavy
YERUSHALAYIM – The Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Sunday authorized for its second and third reading a law that will require more handicapped representation in government positions. Offices that have 100 or more employees will need to set aside 5 percent of the positions available for handicapped individuals. The law, which applies to government offices and government-sponsored institutions, provides organizations with five years to comply. If they don’t, they will be subject to fines and/or budget penalties.
In addition, offices with at least 25 workers will be required to appoint a staff individual who will be in charge of recruiting handicapped workers. At least once a year, offices will be required to advertise their open positions to handicapped applicants. That law comes into effect next January.
The law was proposed by MKs Yoav Kisch and Nurit Koren (both Likud). According to Kisch, “it is our duty and responsibility to promote the employment of handicapped individuals as their numbers grow as a percentage of the population. Many companies in the private sector have adopted this model, and this law will expand it to the public sector. We have before us a true opportunity to advance the rights of handicapped individuals, not just with talk, but with actions.”
The law will come up for a vote in the Knesset in the next two weeks. It is expected to pass easily. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 900,000 individuals in the workforce with significant handicaps. Half of them are not employed.