GIS - January 25, 2012: The Disability Bill which is in line with the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is being drafted by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office. The bill aims to give greater protection to the disabled said the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, Mrs. Sheilabai Bappoo at a press conference in Port Louis yesterday.
The Training and Employment of Disabled Persons Act (1996), which makes provision for the workforce of all enterprises having 35 or more employees to include 3% of persons with disabilities, will be amended and a penalty imposed on non-compliant employers, said Mrs Bappoo. Furthermore, Mauritius will, by March this year, submit to the United Nations the Country Report outlining measures implemented in favour of the disabled.
With regard to the senior citizens of Mauritius, the Minister said that their welfare is one of the major concerns of the Ministry. Elderly Day Care centres have been set up across the island and the training of a third batch of carers, leading to a National Certificate for the Care of the Elderly and the Disabled, will start as from July this year.
A sum of about Rs 230 million has been voted for projects to be implemented by the Ministry within the year. With a view to providing recreational activities to some 12 000 senior citizens annually and help them meet their counterparts from other associations, a new residential recreational centre to the tune of Rs 197.5 million will be constructed at Pointe aux Piments. The Foyer Trochetia which currently accommodates some 35 senior citizens with severe handicaps will be extended and a new wing with 15 additional beds will be added.
Mrs Bappoo recalled that as from this month, beneficiaries of the Basic Retirement Pension (BRP) are being compensated for the increase in cost of living. Consequently, the monthly BRP has gone up to Rs 3 350 for pensioners aged 60 to 89 years, to Rs 9 975 for those aged 90 to 99 years and to Rs 11 320 per month for centenarians.
As most part time and informal workers such as household workers, gardeners, drivers, and casual agricultural workers do not participate in the benefits of the National Pension Fund, it has been decided that for all those earning up to Rs 3 000 monthly, Government will pay their share of contribution to the National Pension Fund and the Transitional Unemployment Benefit. This new measure which is being implemented as from this month will, in the future, provide a pension to those workers and thus bring down the barriers that stood between them and their entitlement to the benefits of the National Pension Fund, said the Minister.