Australian Taxation Office innovates through workplace adjustments

Mon 19 June 2017

Having a solid workplace adjustment policy is a foundation stone in creating a barrier free workplace. It helps managers to support staff to perform at their best by ensuring they have everything they need to be able to thrive in their job.

Gold Member Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is making good progress in this area. In the last twelve months, they have launched several innovative initiatives that are making a difference for their staff.

Following completion of our Access and Inclusion Index, Ed Holicky, Assistant Director, Workplace Diversity and Belinda Gavin, Senior Project Officer, reflect on some of their activity.

Launched at the 2016 International Day of People with Disability celebration, the ATO’s electronic Reasonable Adjustment Passport allows employees to describe how their disability, illness, medical condition or injury impacts on them in the workplace and detail any reasonable adjustment they require to do their job.

 “We’re proud of our Reasonable Adjustment Passport. We believe it’s the first one to be done electronically,” said Ed. “After talking to their manager, an employee documents their adjustments for approval. The information is then stored on our HR system. If a staff member changes positions or a new manager is appointed, the information is readily available. It saves time and provides a seamless process for the employee,” he said. 

At the ATO, workplace adjustments are discussed with potential employees from the outset.

“We ask about reasonable adjustments from the moment someone applies. We also advise on what is available if they choose to share information on their disability. Reasonable adjustments are funded centrally. We don’t ask individual sections to pay. This is in line with best practice as recommended by the Australian Network on Disability,” said Ed.

To help raise awareness about disability and workplace adjustments, the ATO has produced the 'Talking Disability' video series. It is stored on their staff SharePoint alongside other resources to support access and inclusion.

“The video series aims to challenge perceptions and break down some of the myths and misconceptions about disability,” Belinda explains. “The series features employees with disability, managers and disability advisers talking about disability and reasonable adjustments. Overall it helps us to develop a disability confident culture and talk openly about disability in the ATO,” she said.

The ATO undertook the Access and Inclusion Index to benchmark their performance across the 10 key areas.

“We wanted to look at our entire service offer for people with disability and determine where our gaps are so we could work on rectifying them. We also want to acknowledge the areas we are doing well in and find out how we can further improve those areas,” said Ed.

The 2016/2017 Access and Inclusion Benchmark Report is available now. To register your organisation's interest in participating in the 2017/2018 Access and Inclusion Index, please contact us.

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