UAE firms must do more to attract people with disabilities, official warns

Community Development Authority head says too many companies don't know how to implement right programmes
UAE firms must do more to attract people with disabilities, official warns
Image for illustrative purpose only. (Getty Images)
By Yasmin Al Heialy
Tue 24 May 2016 09:41 AM

Private-sector companies in the UAE must redouble their efforts to provide a better working environment for people with disabilities, a government official has said.

“The knowledge is lacking [and] we believe the responsibility of employment is on all companies, rather than only the government,” Khaled Al Kamda, director general of the Community Development Authority (CDA), told Arabian Business.

“Our role is to really insure private institutes know about their needs and know how to handle such people.”

When questioned as to whether the implementation of some programmes should be made obligatory for all private sector companies, Al Kamda said: "Yes, that is responsible business, We work with companies on putting the programmes, and then it's their responsbility to continue that".

Al Kamda said that 12 private firms in the country have been working with the CDA since last year to develop programmes that will help them employ more disabled people.

However, the official warned that more companies need to follow suit.

“They [some private sector firms] think having someone with a disability is a liability rather than being someone who can deliver,” Al Kamda said.

“Employing them for the sake of employment is not the same as creating employees they can depend on.

“We don’t fund at all, it is the responsibility of the companies to fund those projects. We are like advisers working [with both the company and the disabled], to manage a relationship – and we follow up.”

Issued a decade ago, the Federal Law No. 29 concerning the rights of people with special needs was the first law in the UAE to protect the rights of people with special needs.

The law stipulates that UAE nationals with special needs have the right to work and hold public office and their special needs shall not be a barrier for their nomination and selection for employment.

For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.