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Telework, should it take hold in Jamaica, would be of significant benefit to the disabled community, said Senator Floyd Morris, Minister of State for Labour and Social Security.
Telework is an emerging trend in labour policy, whereby persons can opt to work from a remote location, enabled by telecommunication, rather than go into an office.
Senator Morris, who was speaking at a Telework consultation workshop held recently at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in New Kingston, said that the policy would create vast opportunities for persons, who were not able to work in conventional ways.
Given that the buildings of many companies in Jamaica were not designed and constructed with facilities to accommodate persons with disabilities, he noted, working from home offered an alternative. “If a disabled person cannot go to the physical office, that person can use technology and stay at home and do the work then transmit it to the office,” he pointed out.
“There will be no excuses for employers not to employ disabled persons anymore because the technology is there to facilitate the process,” he added.
Senator Morris noted that he was a living testimony of how technology had been able to enhance and facilitate the efficiency of work. “My office is a living testimony of a paperless one,” he boasted.
In the meantime, he appealed to employers to adopt an open mind as it pertained to employing person with disabilities.
“What we have as a country is a vast array of our citizens, who are under-utilised and I am certain that if these individuals could be brought into the productive capacity of the country, you would see a significant improvement in the profitability of companies across this country,” Senator Morris argued.
There are some 250,000 persons with disabilities in Jamaica, of which only 1 per cent are gainfully employed.