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Providing reasonable adjustments

For: Employers and managers

Reasonable adjustments, sometimes known as workplace adjustments, provide necessary assistance to reduce barriers to work.

Reasonable adjustments can involve a change to a work process, practice, procedure or environment that enables an employee with disability to perform their job in a way that minimises the impact of their disability.

About reasonable adjustments

To make reasonable adjustments the inherent requirements of the job need to be understood. The inherent requirements of a job relate to what needs to be accomplished rather than how the job is accomplished. The focus should be on how the person’s injury, illness or disability affects their ability to undertake their work and what adjustments can be made to overcome this.

Reasonable adjustments are personalised and should be tailored to meet individual requirements and circumstances. The employee will understand their abilities and what restrictions they have and are often the best person to advise what adjustments are needed.

Reasonable adjustments can be temporary or long-term. They need to be reviewed regularly to make sure they remain relevant and effective for the employee, as well as manageable within the workplace.

Your responsibilities

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 requires employers to make reasonable adjustments so a person with a disability can perform the inherent requirements of the job, unless this would cause ‘unjustifiable hardship’. Workplace alterations, aids and appliances are also provided for under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Benefits of providing reasonable adjustments

  • There are positive economic and business benefits of employing people with an injury or disability and providing reasonable adjustments
  • Supports employees with a disability or injury to stay at work or return to work to perform their role safely
  • Supports participation, independence and social inclusion.

Examples of reasonable adjustments

  • Flexibility in working hours
  • Moving a person’s location of work or allowing them to work from home
  • Redistributing minor duties
  • Providing additional training, mentoring, supervision and support
  • Providing equipment, such as speech recognition software for someone with vision impairment.

More information

For more information on reasonable adjustments and rehabilitation, see our Rehabilitation Case Manager handbook (PDF, 1.7 MB) and return to work process for employers.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed a website that has resources for employers and people with a disability seeking employment. For more information, visit IncludeAbility.

The Australian Government provides funding through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) to pay for workplace adjustments, such as modifications and equipment. To find out more and how to apply, visit JobAccess.

Page last reviewed: 10 November 2021

GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 |

Date printed 25 Apr 2024