Innovative Policy 2017 on Employment and Vocational Education & Training

Returning Malaysians with acquired disabilities to work

By providing job placement and employment support for workers who have acquired disabilities and by challenging the conception of the term not able to work, Malaysia’s Job Placement & Employment Support Services initiative is promoting the return to work, and has placed 3,072 people in new jobs to date.

Job Placement & Employment Support Services (part of Return to Work Programme)
of origin
Responsible bodySocial Security Organisation (SOCSO)


Under the auspices of Malaysia’s Social Security Organisation (SOCSO), the Job Placement & Employment Support Services (JPESS) initiative is a component of the national Return to Work (RTW) programme, which offers comprehensive physical and vocational rehabilitation to employees suffering from injuries or invalidities. The RTW programme is the first to provide such services to those who are unable to return to their previous employers, including job placement assessments, job matching, and counselling – all using a case management and multidisciplinary approach. From 2007 to 2015, SOCSO engaged with more than 10.000 companies.


Stigma among employers causes many workers to loose employment after they suffer a significant injury or illness. To address this, SOCSO introduced the Return to Work programme in 2007, in accordance with the Employees’ Social Security Act of 1969 and Employee Social Security General Rules of 1971. RTW was the result of a cost/benefit analysis by the Australian Government in 2003 and a pilot disability management programme by SOCSO in 2005. In 2008, JPESS became a component of the RTW programme, which has operated in every region of the country since 2009. Various stakeholders, including disabled peoples organizations, have been and continue to be engaged in its development and implementation.

Insured person of the Return To Work Programme  © Social Security Organisation, Malaysia

Insured person of the Return To Work Programme © Social Security Organisation, Malaysia


Individualised support
SOCSO is the only organization that provides individualized job placement services countrywide for employees with injuries or illnesses and that builds close ties with employers, which together result in placement success.
Adequate monitoring
The programme’s follow-up process helps to ensure that the candidate has gained employment and is able to continue to be productive and to contribute to the economy.
Bringing everyone on board
The success of JPESS is due to the commitment of all stakeholders, including the medical staff, employers, job candidates, case managers, and job placement officers.


  • The JPESS initiative began in 2008.
  • In 2016 some 4,100 persons with disabilities will receive RTW services, of whom 20 per cent will receive JPESS.
  • From 2007 to 2016, JPESS placed 3,072 persons in new jobs (18 per cent female); 1,194 became self-employed.
  • On average, SOCSO engages with 700 new employers per year.
  • Five disability equality trainings are held each year, reaching approximately 300 employers; and some 2,100 employers have been trained since 2009.

«This programme is very meaningful for those who are going through a rough time in their lives and for employers it is a social responsibility.»

Ms Hasiah Mohd Dom, Human Resource Executive, Mydim Mohamed Holdings Berhad


The JPESS initiative ensures that the responsible case manager is assisted by a job placement officer, who makes a job placement assessment of each candidate and designs an individual employment support plan. This officer disseminates information on jobs, prepares and places the person through case management, in some cases helps the individual to start a business, utilises the job coach approach (if needed), and connects with employers. JPESS also raises awareness with employers, provides for accessibility/inclusion measures, and provides information about fiscal benefits. SOCSO reports to the Ministry of Human Resources and feeds back to the National Council for Persons with Disabilities. It also manages a pooled fund of statutory contributions made by employers.


  • Placed people showed an increase in skills, career goals, independence, self-esteem, and health.
  • In 2014, the Ministry of Human Resources has added the Return to Work Programme to the Ministerial Key Results Area of the Government Transformation Plan.
  • Private companies are adopting similar disability management policies.
  • In 2016, additional Job Placement Officers have been added and some 20,000 companies engaged.


The JPESS initiative has an annual cost of €54,000– 75,000. In 2012, SOCSO was awarded the International Social Security Association’s Good Practice Award (Certificate of Merit) for Asia and Pacific for its Return to Work programme and its Commuting Accident and Prevention Plan.


Ms. Gayathri VADIVEL
Return to Work Department, Social Security Organisation,
15th Floor, Menara PERKESO,
281, Jalan Ampang, 50538 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone: +60 12 6044467


SOCSO, Return to Work Programme of 2007: ; H. Awang et al, 2015: ; SOCSO, Disability: Not A Tragedy-Life Changing Stories After Return to Work, 2014: