Social Security Organisation Malaysia (Socso) is most known for its compensation processes for employees who gets injured on the job.
But beyond that, Socso has long realised the need for workers to be accepted back in a workplace and help companies retain talent despite the disabilities the employees may have.
Since 2007, the organisation’s Return to Work (RTW) programme, otherwise known as the Disability Management programme, has been addressing the welfare of workers following their injuries or illnesses.
The programme draws out suitable measures that will help assimilate workers back into a workplace and enable them to continue their gainful living, such as through coordinated efforts with employers to provide rehabilitation, job modifications or new job placements.
However, Socso chief executive officer Datuk Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said many employers still lack understanding on the holistic approach of Disability Management.
“Most companies know they have done their part by contributing to Socso and that Socso will take care of their employees should the need arise.
“But this is not just about providing compensation; employees are an asset to a company,” he said.
Mohammed Azman said additional costs to care for workers’ health welfare were of a major concern for employers.
“Many employers remain ignorant, not understanding the negative impact that comes with prolonged medical leave that could translate to loss of man hours and even more financial impacts that can come with it,” he expressed.
On the bright side, Mohammed Azman said Socso has seen improvements in some companies that have come to accept the programme.
“Some companies have their own form of basic health services or physiotherapy centres trained by us and some even do placements for workers with disabilities registered with Socso.”
Brahim’s SATS Food Services Sdn Bhd is one of Socso’s exemplary case.
The company participated in a disability management programme run by Socso and has subsequently introduced its RTW programme in 2009.
It put together an RTW committee across different departments to plan, manage and oversee RTW policies.
Among the company’s other initiatives include the establishment of its in-house clinic, a gym and a physiotherapy centre.
Fortunately, employers who wish to know issues pertinent to Disability Management can participate in the upcoming International Forum on Disability Management (IFDM).
The global biennial event, taking shape for the first time in Malaysia and in Asia, is set to take place from Nov 22 to Nov 24 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
Themed ‘Transforming Disability Management’, the forum will shed light on eight key issues including Government Strategies and Policies on Disability Management, Public Initiatives in Managing Workers with Disabilities at Work, Best Practices in Disability Management, Innovation in Disability Management, Innovation in Assistive Technology, Disability Management and Medicine, Academics and Professionalism in Disability Management as well as Cost Benefit in Minimising Cost and Increasing Effectiveness in Disability Management.
Mohammed Azman said the forum will cover diverse insights from industry experts and best practices adopted in developed countries.
“It will enable employers to comprehend the bigger picture and consider within their own premises or HR practices to help mitigate costs and retain talents by having healthy workers.”
The conference, which has already registered delegates from over 30 countries, will feature 20 speakers from all over the world, and is targeted at employers, human resource practitioners, medical specialists, doctors, allied health professionals, risk managers, unions, government agencies, insurance industry members, and policy makers.
Mohammed Azman said: “We want to reach out to as many companies as possible.
“Even if we can have just 1% from the total of 423,482 active employers registered with Socso, we can help people and in turn spur a greater economic development.
“Ultimately, we want people with disabilities to integrate back into society -– back to work, back to life,” he concluded.
IFDM 2016 is still open for registration. Log on to ifdm2016.com.my for more details.