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While in India quota is there for people with disability only in government jobs, South Korea has mandated this for public organisations as well as private companies.

As per a report A total of 457 public organizations and private companies failed to comply with disability employment obligations, the labor ministry said Wednesday, with Prada Korea found to have had zero disability employment for over 10 years.

Here’s a breakdown on South Korea’s disability employment quota and the issues faced:

Quota Mandate: South Korea mandates a disability employment quota for both public organizations and private companies. Public institutions are required to maintain a workforce comprising 3.6% of workers with disabilities, while private firms should have a 3.1% representation.

Non-Compliance: A recent report revealed that 457 entities, including public organizations and private companies, failed to meet the mandated disability employment obligations. This includes Prada Korea, which notably had zero disability employment for over a decade.

Penalties for Non-Compliance: Entities violating the disability employment rule face fines, known as handicapped employment levies. However, criticisms suggest that the fine amount, set at 1.2 million won ($922) per person they are required to hire, is relatively small. Consequently, many opt to pay the fine rather than fulfill the employment requirement.

Entities in Non-Compliance: The list of non-compliant entities includes 29 public institutions and 428 private firms. This comprises public institutions failing to meet the 3.6% disability employment requirement and private firms with workforce rates of disabled people below 1.55%, half the corporate requirement rate.

Noteworthy Cases: Among the entities with persistently low disability employment rates for ten consecutive years were some prominent names such as Ssangyong Engineering & Construction Co., Citibank Korea, and Dongguk University.

Zero Rate of Disability Employment: Particularly alarming were cases like Prada Korea, maintaining a zero rate of disability employment for over a decade despite having an obligation to employ at least 22 people with disabilities based on its workforce size.

Positive Shifts: However, there were instances of improvement, with Zara Retail Korea Co. achieving a 2.7% disability employment rate within a year after previously having a zero rate. This indicates some companies making efforts to enhance their disability inclusion practices.

Concerns and Criticisms: The persistently low employment rates for individuals with disabilities in certain companies, especially those with influential global brands like Prada, raise concerns about their commitment to inclusive hiring practices and adherence to regulatory mandates.

Policy Impact and Ongoing Challenges: The enforcement of quotas for disability employment in both public and private sectors aims at fostering inclusivity. However, the consistent non-compliance of several entities highlights the challenges in ensuring genuine inclusion and enforcement of these mandates.

Potential Reforms: Critics argue for reconsideration of the fine amounts to incentivize companies to prioritize hiring individuals with disabilities rather than opting for fines. There’s a need for greater scrutiny and measures to encourage proactive inclusion efforts by entities, fostering a more inclusive work environment.

South Korea’s efforts to enforce disability employment quotas in both public and private sectors aim to create an inclusive workforce. However, persistent non-compliance among various entities raises questions about the effectiveness of penalties and the commitment of organizations to promote inclusivity in their workforce.

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