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Workplace inclusion – what support is out there

Did you know that Australia ranks 21st out of 29 OECD nations when it comes to employment rates for people with a disability? Only 53 per cent of Australians with disability are employed, compared with 82 per cent of the rest of the population. A key factor, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, is employer attitudes and awareness.

It’s surprising that more employers aren’t tuned in to the benefits of hiring a person with a disability. According to the Australian Network on Disability, opening the doors to people with a disability increases a company’s chances of hiring the most relevant person for the job. It’s also good for business –employees and customers will be more loyal to an organisation modelling diversity and inclusiveness. A workforce with disability also has lower absenteeism and employee turnover, and lower incidence of workplace injury. It’s also a myth that it costs more to hire someone with a disability!

In this context, it makes good business sense to provide more opportunities and support for jobseekers who have a disability.

In last year’s Budget, the Government pledged to invest $3 billion over four years in Disability Employment Services to improve job prospects for people with disability, injury or a health condition. This follows extensive consultation in the community, with people with disability, disability peak organisations, disability providers and employers.

If you’re new to the workforce, JobAccess is your first port of call, offering support to find a job as well as support for people who need ongoing support to do a job. What does that support look like?

JobAccess is a hub of the information you’ll need to find and keep a job, get promoted, find financial and other support, extend your skills and more. It also has resources for employers and service providers.

With the boost to Government funding, from 1 July 2018, if you access Disability Employment Services, you’ll be able to choose any DES provider you like, work out a plan, be clear about the support you’ll get and switch if you’re not happy. Your DES provider’s success and funding will depend on your success in finding a job.

Once you’ve landed a job, you may be eligible for support in a number of ways. Employers are expected to make reasonable adjustments to assist you to apply for work and do your job. These range from workplace equipment and assistive technology to training for other staff. You and your employer can also apply for funding for changes to your workplace.

You may also be eligible for work-based personal assistance if you have a permanent disability and need ongoing support to do your job. This can take many forms. Maybe you need transport to and from work every day. Maybe you need an interpreter or reader. Maybe you need help with eating and toileting while you’re at work. Or maybe you’d just like a mate to make those deliveries with you.

You can use your NDIS funding (Capacity Building – Finding and keeping a job) to find a worker on the Mable platform who can support you at work. Click here to find a Support Worker.

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