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PHUKET: With the Phuket labor shortage reaching critical levels, authorities are encouraging employers to hire more disabled workers and are advising large organizations that they are legally required to do so.

Officials from Phuket Provincial Office, Phuket Provincial Employment Office and the Human Development and Security Office held a recent meeting to inform employers about the subject at the Phuket Merlin Hotel earlier this week.

Phuket Provincial Employment Office Chief Noppadol Ployudee said the meeting was to explain to employers about the law relating to the employment of the disabled, as well as highlighting the many advantages of employing them.

Mr Noppadol also discussed the duties of the Labor Ministry relating to The Persons with Disabilities’ Quality of Life Promotion Act of 2007.

Particularly relevant are Article 33, on the proportion of disabled employees an employer must hire, and Article 35, which concerns providing access to disabled people and catering to their needs in businesses.

The Labor Ministry has a budget to promote awareness of and adherence to these laws. It will target 220 places of work in Phuket that employ more than 100 people and are consequently bound by terms of the 2007 Act.

The Phuket Provincial Employment Office itself has five disabled people among its employees.

Taking advantage of Phuket’s disabled workforce could help ease the island’s labor shortage, which Bhuritt Maswongsa, a vice president of the Phuket Tourist Association, recently called “critical”.

“The lack of hotel employees has now reached a crisis point with 3,000 to 4,000 unfilled positions,” he told the Gazette in a recent interview.

— NationChannel (Thai TV)