Getting advice and support
Though it’s important as an employer to be educated about inclusive workplace practices, you are not expected to be an expert. There are numerous resources and services available for employers who require support and advice on employing people with disability.
If you are looking at employing a person with disability, or have an employee with disability who requires some assistance or support in their job, there are a number of free services available to assist you.
Australian Government funded employment services provide a national network of community and private organisations dedicated to placing people with disability into employment.
Dedicated employment services are also able to employers. They provide assistance with the recruitment of people with disability, and in some instances with supporting the employee at work. A brief description of each employment service is outlined below.
- JobAccess is a government resource that provides help and workplace solutions for the employment and retention of people with disability. Visit the JobAccess website for more information.
- Disability Employment Services (DES) play a specialist role in helping people with disability to prepare for, find and keep a job within the open labour market. Disability Employment Services also provide services directly to employers. Disability Employment Australia has a search tool that can help you source a provider to engage with in your area.
- The Department of Employment’s National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) service aims to increase the number of job vacancies available to Disability Employment Services for people with disability. The NDRC works with large employers to develop a Memorandum of Understanding. The employer commits to increasing their recruitment of people with disability. See the Department of Employment’s website for more information.
There is help available to pay for the cost of workplace adjustments that may be needed to accommodate an employee with disability. Assistance is available for a broad range of modifications including, but not limited to, physical and environmental workplace adjustments, computer software upgrades, vehicle modifications, communication technology devices and specific items of equipment an employee may require to do their job.
While the majority of workers with disability won’t require any workplace modifications, the Employment Assistance Fund aims to make accommodating employees with disability in your workplace easier.
Job in Jeopardy Assistance
If you have an employee with disability who requires immediate assistance or support to keep their job, you may be able to receive assistance from a Disability Employment Service.
Job in Jeopardy Assistance can help by providing you with support and assistance to ensure that your employee retains their position, including assistance with job design and structure and workplace adjustments.
You can find out more about Job in Jeopardy Assistance at the Department of Human Services website or by contacting your local DES provider.
If you have an employee with disability who has been placed into your organisation and received assistance from a Disability Employment Service, then you may be able to receive ‘Intermittent Support’ from that service. Intermittent support from a Disability Employment Service can help by providing you or your employee with very short term support to assist the employee with settling into their job.
Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC)
AHRC is an independent statutory organisation established under Commonwealth legislation. It administers a number of federal anti-discrimination acts and provides information on the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) covering:
- Recruitment processes
- Hiring decisions
- Terms and conditions of employment
- Promotion, transfer, training or other benefits
- Termination, demotion or retrenchment.
AHRC also provides information and practical cases studies on:
- An employer’s obligations
- Definitions and examples of direct and indirect discrimination and harassment
- Questions employers may ask about a person’s disability and examples of reasonable adjustment and unjustifiable hardship
- OH&S requirements under the DDA
- Recruitment processes
- Voluntary work.
AHRC provides confidential assessment and conciliation when individuals lodge complaints of discrimination, and makes referrals to the Federal Court when conciliation is not successful.
You can find out more at the AHRC’s website.
The Australian Network on Disability
The Australian Network on Disability (AND) is a not-for-profit organisation resourced by its members to advance the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business. AND helps its members and clients to welcome people with disability as employees, customers and suppliers.
AND is not an employment agency, and does not find jobs for people with disability. Rather, they work with member organisations to help them become more confident and prepared to welcome people with disability into their organisations.
The Australian Network on Disability helps its members develop the behaviours, the attitudes, the systems and the knowledge to successfully engage with people with disability as employees, customers and stakeholders.
State/Territory Based Anti-Discrimination Boards
State/Territory based anti-discrimination boards promote anti-discrimination and equal opportunity principles and policies under state-based laws. They handle complaints and provide an enquiry service for people who want to know about their rights or responsibilities.
The boards also educate people about their rights and responsibilities under anti-discrimination laws through consultations, education programs, seminars, talks, and community functions. They disseminate written information and provide useful information on their websites, below.
- NSW Anti Discrimination Board
- Equal Opportunity Commission Victoria
- Anti Discrimination Commission Queensland
- Equal Opportunity Commission Western Australia
- Equal Opportunity Commission South Australia
- Northern Territory Anti Discrimination Commission
- ACT Human Rights Office
- Tasmania Office of the Anti Discrimination Commissioner
Work Health and Safety (WH&S)
Information about employers’ responsibilities to provide safe workplaces can be accessed at the Safe Work Australia website.