Considerations of The Employer:
There is no real difference in employing a person with a disability to anyone else, people with a disability should be considered in the same way as anyone else applying for a position. It is important that the Company seek expert advice from a Disability Employment Agency to gain a full insight into the benefits of employing a person with a disability and how to identify, interview, employ, train and support that person so that a positive outcome is achieved for all.
People with a disability are not limited to unskilled positions, many people with disabilities work in very skilled positions. Always consider the person, their qualifications and abilities. It is essential to understand what a disability is and be aware that people are individuals and as such disability is different for each individual. Disabilities are many and varied such as Physical disabilities (sight, hearing impairment or wheelchair users), people who are diagnosed with Diabetes, Asthma or Heart Conditions, Intellectual impairment or Mental Health (such as anxiety). None of these may cause an individual to be unable to work, provided with suitable supports anything is achievable.
Being an inclusive workplace is a positive thing for all employees. The following facts about Employing people with a disability is from the Job Access web site and you can also find out more about the “Benefits of employing people with disability”.
Employing people with disability can also ensure that your team best reflects the community in which it operates. Like all employees, people with disability bring a range of skills, talents and abilities to the workplace. They work in all sorts of jobs, with many holding tertiary or trade qualifications.
Some key facts about employing people with disability:
- People with disability generally take fewer days off, take less sick leave and stay in jobs longer than other workers.
- Employment costs for people with disability can be as low as 13 per cent of the employment costs for other employees*.
- Workers’ compensation costs for people with disability are as low as four per cent of the workers’ compensation costs for other employees*.
- Once in the right job, people with disability perform as well as other employees.
- People with disability build strong connections with customers.
- People with disability boost staff morale and enhance a sense of teamwork.
- Hiring people with disability enhances an organisation’s image in the general community.
The following are some of the things a Company should consider:
- Company Rights and Responsibilities
- Available Supports
- Possible Financial Supports for changes to the workplace/wages
- Training options for Management, Staff and the Job applicant
- Video and printable documents
An excellent source of the above information can be found at Job Access an Australian Government website: Access for Employers | Job Access
An Employers guide to employing someone with a disability which can be found on the Australian Government Department of Social Services website Department of Social Services, Australian Government (dss.gov.au)
As always when looking at employing a person a Company needs to:
- Determine what the position is – Write a clear description:
- Qualifications required – Educational, licenses (fork lift) etc
- Physical Requirements – lifting, typing, accessing filing cabinets
- Medical Requirements – any vaccinations required
- Type of Employment – part time/ full time/ job share possibilities
- Days and Hours of employment
- Parking Options – on site, street, disability parking available
- Duties/Tasks – in full, dot point is best so that it is clear and concise
- Training provided – in an appropriate format
- Then consider:
- Is the Company willing to support its Management and Staff to undertake training to understand disability and how to support a Person with a disability within the work place. Misinformation, preconceptions and lack of knowledge can cause apprehension and lead to a negative outcome for the Person with a disability, Management and Staff. Where as being prepared, educated and willing encourages all persons to be able to interact with confidence, support each other and build a great team allowing a positive outcome for all.
- Is the Company willing to access the expert support of a Disability Employment Service. These Services do more than providing the Company with a short list of persons for a particular job. They can provide information, supports and training. Please refer to the Employers guide to employing someone with disability – section: What are Disability Employment Services on the link above for more information.
- Is the Company willing to consider any adjustments to:
- any training provided
- the physical work space
- computer technology, tools
- Examples of the above could include: text to speech software, type of desk/chair, modifications to work area (toilet, kitchen, ramps, widening of doorways, reducing of ambient noise or light, a designated parking spot).
- Is the Company willing to allow a person to wear noise cancelling headset if the person is sensitive to noise or change a keyboard from standard to a different material if they were sensitive or allergic to standard rubber keys. Change a desk due to its materials/finishes. Change the material on an office chair.
- Is the Company willing to adapt the job/tasks. For example, Job Share, if one person is unable to cover the full days/hours. Split the tasks so two people can cover all the tasks where each person has the ability and responsibility to cover specific parts/tasks so that all tasks are completed between them.
- Is the Company willing to allow extra time for the person to learn the job/tasks, accommodate a training person to work along side of the employee, assign a “work buddy” to assist the employee to assimilate.
- Is the Company willing to adapt access where the employee might need to move around the building giving alternative, more appropriate routes and possibly allowing extra transit time to get from one area to another.
We hope the above assists in encouraging you to consider employing a Person with a disability. However, it is suggested that you seek the assistance of a reputable Disability Employment Agency for the latest information and supports.