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1999 Hotline Representatives with Visual Impairment Take Care of Your Inquires about Education and Social Welfare

Do you know a person is entitled to severance pay even being fired during the probation period? A subsidy that could be more than NTD 12,000 is available for someone who sends his/her 5-year-old to a public kindergarten; and? And, an application for a relief fund up to NTD 30,000 could be filed as soon as the family’s primary breadwinner is out of work? If you have such concerns or any questions regarding labor rights, education, and social welfare, you could always dial 1999, then press 2 for professional assistance from 1999 call representatives with visual impairment.

1999 Taipei Citizen Hotline (hereinafter referred to as “the 1999 Hotline”), in compliance with the “People with Disabilities Rights Protection Act,” organizes the largest work team comprising of workers with visual impairment among all customer service centers of the government sectors in Taiwan. On February 15, 2012, the 1999 Hotline started the cooperation with the Center of Resources for Blind and Visual Impaired Students at the Tamkang University to recruit 12 visually impaired workers. After fulfilling the training requirement, they become part of the 1999 call representative team and have been serving the public since August 9, 2012. Among the 12 representatives, four are blind, and the other 8 representatives have mild visual impairment. In the beginning, they focused on providing information services concerning labor rights.

Junyuan is one of the visually impaired representatives. He recalls one of the services he provided and feels proud of. It was a call from a mother asking help on job search for her son, who had graduated from school for quite a while. Junyuan noticed that she seemed still unhappy after he gave her the information, so he kindly asked if there was anything further he could assist. She then admitted that instead of lacking job information, what she was really troubled was that her son failed to get a job after many interviews. Later on during the same call, she finally revealed her son was turned down many times because of his moderate disability.

Junyuan immediately empathized with the situation from the bottom of his heart. He shared his own similar experiences with this worried mom and provided information specific to her need. He also suggested her to go to the Taipei City Foreign and Disabled Labor Office. The office not only helps the physically challenged find jobs, it also gives supports for working people with disabilities, such as the assistance for employees to do “job redesign” to hire people with disabilities. Junyuan’s words gradually lessened her frustration. “The burden on her shoulder seemed removed when she hung up the phone,” said Junyuan. A telephone call may not be something grand, but it is not any less capable of giving hopes to people in despair.

In addition to the information services on labor rights, these visually impaired representatives have been given a new responsibility – providing information regarding education since December 2, 2013. Furthermore, information on social welfare was added on June 16, 2014. For anyone who wants to learn more about labor rights, education, and social welfare, please dial 1999 then press 2, professional assistance will be available immediately.