Maeda, Yuka (2014). 'The necessity to create the pseudo-family system in companies and communities to guarantee the capabilities of both the disabled and the caregivers' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.
The theme of this presentation is to show the necessity to create the pseudo-family system in companies and communities to guarantee the capabilities of both the disabled and the caregivers. Employment is still the biggest challenge for the disabled in Japan. Although the number of the working disabled has been increasing since the change of statutory employment rates of the disabled in April 2013, their job turnover rate is high because they often suffer from the hard worthless work or bullying. Employment is a key to guarantee their capability, for it gives them a connection with the community, a place to show their ability, and an income to enrich their life. However, just providing work opportunities will not guarantee their capability. They need working environment where their ability is appreciated and their non-disabled co-workers do not feel any burden to work with them. In other words, to guarantee the capability of the disabled persons, the capability of the caregivers has also to be guaranteed. To create such working environment, a concept of family seems essential in Japan.
The capabilities approach regards a family as a social and political institution, and Nussbaum states that this approach refuses the liberal distinction called a public and the personal spheres (Nussbaum, 2006). In 'Frontiers of Justice', she introduced a system of the cash payments for the caregiver and insisted on the importance of the work of the care more. However, when looking for a best support system in a community with certain cultural background, a concept of a family can be taken in a different perspective. In communities in Japan, trying to find a way to build a system in which companies or local communities work as a pseudo-family will be a better way to guarantee the capabilities of both the disabled persons and the caregivers.
The endeavors of ISFnet will be reported, where 800 out of 3000 employees are with disabilities. This company's system looks like family. That system and their actions are noteworthy in that they aim both to develop the disabled persons' capabilities and to guarantee the caregivers' capabilities. The essentials of the actions taken in ISFnet are two points: one is to regard it most important to let the disabled employees feel happy at work, and the other is to regard it most respectful to work for the others. As a result, over 90 % of the disabled employees stay on working, and the company has been
expanding its scale. Their efforts and results will be examined to propose a way to guarantee capabilities of the disabled persons in local communities in Japan.
The non-disabled employees find out what each of the disabled employees do best and give them the most appropriate jobs. When necessary, they even go beyond their original IT-related jobs and create new ones such as restaurants, agriculture farms, or dry-cleaning shops. The jobs that disabled employees can learn to be good at are often very limited. When they try to train their disabled employees to fit into the jobs already available in their company, it often leads to more difficulties. When they try to find the jobs they do best, things go much easier. Moreover, their effort produces good profit. In this company, annual sales have been growing at every branch shop. Therefore, ISFnet makes the jobs so that every one of their disabled employees has jobs they do without any difficulties.
In ISFnet, the non-disabled employees are expected to maintain the working environment so that it will let their disabled colleagues perform their ability best. If it is necessary, they even get into their colleagues' private life area to help them have healthy stable life at home. For example, they ask the disabled colleagues' family or their group-home staff for the health care info, or even ask the local support-center staff to help their colleagues have better spare time activities. Usually companies will not go into their employees' private life thus far. However, those efforts are considered to be a part of their regular jobs in ISFnet. They believe no one can work well without stable life and good health, so helping their disabled employees have it is a job the company has to do. This company always pursues a way to let the disabled employees feel happy to work, and as a result it leads to guarantee their capabilities of health and play.
All the employees are satisfied with those actions. The low turnover rate of this company shows this, and the company maintains the environment where all the employees feel happy to work for the others. For example, the noteworthy action taken in the company is what they call 'the core system'. Apart from the boss-subordinate relation, all the employees are divided into a group where they have a pseudo-family relationship with other employees from different sections. In this pseudo-family of the core system, they are encouraged to share worries, both at work and private life, and it help them get mental stability and a sense of solidarity. It helps further the whole company work as one family: their president is 'a parent' and their company is 'a family'. Therefore, they want to help their colleagues when they see them in any trouble, and it creates their unique system of support-each-other.
Even the disabled employees help the others, and to let it happen, the company introduced a group work in which the process of 'PLAN→DO→CHECK' is changed into
a turn-taking process of'persons with physical disabled→persons with mental disabled →persons with mental illness'. Thus, while working together, the disabled workers not only make most of their abilities, but also provide a necessary care to their colleagues. As stated above, their pseudo-family relationship with other employees enables ISFnet to guarantee the capabilities of their disabled and non-disabled employees. This shows that creating a pseudo-family relationship in companies and communities is a way to guarantee the capabilities of both the disabled persons and the caregivers.