ESM Goh suggests tax incentives for employers who hire those with disabilities
SINGAPORE – The Government could provide more incentives to nudge employers to hire more persons with disabilities, said Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on Tuesday (Jan 15) at the launch of a new initiative to recognise the achievements of those with special needs.
SINGAPORE — The Government could provide more incentives to nudge employers to hire more persons with disabilities, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Tuesday (Jan 15) at the launch of a new initiative to recognise the achievements of those with special needs.
Offering some ideas, he suggested that employers could perhaps be offered double tax deduction on the salaries of workers with disabilities.
Under the Ministry of Manpower’s labour quota system, having a Singaporean employee with disabilities could perhaps count as two Singaporeans when calculating the number of foreign workers a firm is able to hire, Mr Goh proposed.
“I am thinking through these to see if they can work. If they are workable, then I can get SG Enable to put up a paper to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), plus our Finance Ministry, to process these incentives,” he said at the launch of the Goh Chok Tong (GCT) Enable Awards under the Mediacorp Enable Fund.
SG Enable, set up by the MSF in 2013, is an agency that supports persons with disabilities across different life stages.
Mr Goh is the patron of the Mediacorp Enable Fund, which has its roots in the TODAY Enable Fund initiated in December 2016.
The awards, which consist of two categories, aim to recognise the achievements of those with disabilities and motivate those with promise and potential.
Under the GCT Enable Award (UBS Achievement), each year, up to three Singapore citizens or permanent residents aged 18 and above will receive up to S$10,000, while S$5,000 will go to nominating organisations that are Institutions of a Public Character as well as government educational institutions.
Under the GCT Enable Award (UBS Promise), up to 10 Singapore citizens or permanent residents aged 12 and above will receive S$5,000 each.
Among other criteria, candidates for the awards must be nominated.
Nominations are open until March 31 this year and winners will be announced in July.
The Singapore Totalisator Board, which operates sports betting and lotteries such as 4D and Toto, is the founding sponsor of the GCT Enable Awards, while financial services firm UBS Singapore is the principal sponsor.
Mediacorp's chief executive officer Tham Loke Kheng said that the awards “reflect the new ways that we are uplifting people of all abilities in our community”.
“They celebrate diversity but also passion and determination,” she said.
At the launch held at the Enabling Village — a facility and community space catering to persons with disabilities — Mr Goh said that those with disabilities receive more help when they are still in school, but could do with more support in lifelong learning.
The Government, for example, can help companies to tap the abilities of those with special needs and equip workplaces with facilities for them.
Adding that he has relatives with disabilities, he said: “Basically, these groups are very important to the parents, definitely, and to us as Singaporeans and to Singapore.”