§ Mr. John Grant:
Members of wages councils represent employers and workers respectively in the industries or trades concerned.
I am sending a copy of a list of names and the nominated organisations which appoint them, together with the independent members who are appointed by my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. John Grant:
I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that the quota scheme, established under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944, requires all employers of 20 or more workers to employ a quota—at present 3 per cent. of registered disabled people. To be below quota is not in itself an offence, but employers who are below quota must obtain a permit from the disablement resettlement officer if they wish to recruit workers who are not registered disabled. Such a permit will be issued only if suitable registered disabled people are not available. In addition to the quota scheme, there is provision for the designation of specified occupations, entry into which is to be reserved for registered disabled people. Two occupations have been designated to date: passenger electric lift attendant and car park attendant.
Employers are encouraged to adopt an enlightened attitude towards the employment of disabled people whether they are registered or not. The booklet "Positive Policies ", a guide to the employment of disabled people, was issued to over 55,000 employers in May 1977 and its message is being emphasised through a programme of visits by disablement resettlement officers. These efforts will be boosted by a major promotional campaign in the autumn. In addition, certain aids and grants are available to help improve employment opportunities for disabled people. The employment and training services available in support of disabled people and proposed developments over the next 5–10 years are described in the MSC's programme "Developing Employment and Training Services for Disabled People" which was issued in February 1978.
Information about the numbers of registered disabled people employed in individual firms is obtained by the MSC in confidence and I am unable to give any undertakings as regards its publication. However, with the agreement of the employers concerned, it has been the practice since 1976 to publish tables showing the numbers of registered disabled people employed by a wide range of major public sector employers, and the proportions of total staffs represented by these numbers, 918W in the November issue of the Department of Employment Gazette. In addition, as a special exercise, similar information about certain private sector employers, who can be regarded as "opinion formers ", was published in theOfficial Report, 13th July 1978.—[Vol. 953, c. 709.]
It is important to bear in mind that, although it is the numbers of registered disabled people employed which count towards an employer's quota position, registration is voluntary and many disabled people choose not to register. Thus quota figures published in this way do not reflect the extent to which employers are in fact providing jobs for disabled people
The MSC is currently reviewing the quota scheme with the aim of making recommendations as to the best way of protecting and enhancing employment opportunities for disabled people. The commission intends to issue a discussion paper in the near future to seek the views of interested organisations.