Searchshow menu

Supporting disability and ill health in the workplace

Promoting and enabling workers with a disability to actively participate, contribute and reach their full potential in the workplace is crucial. It’s crucial individual workers with a disability know they have a career ahead of them, and it’s crucial if we are to meet the Government’s long-term priorities of reducing social exclusion and contributing to a stronger Australia.

It is widely recognised people with a disability are at most risk of social exclusion and face many barriers to fully participating in society and the workplace. It is vital that organisations and managers have the right mindset and skills to offer support for those affected by disability so they can remain active and valued.

Supporting participation is a shared responsibility

Disability affects many people from all walks of life. It also manifests itself in many different guises. Disability can result from injury, ill health or a genetic disorder. A disability may be permanent or temporary and may have minimal or substantial impact on a person’s life. Disabilities can be visible or hidden.

It’s important organisations and managers understand what disability is and how they can support those who may be affected. The benefits of employing someone with a disability—and more importantly keeping them in long-term employment—is not only significant for an organisation but also for the individual, their family and community.

Everyone can play a role in empowering people with a disability to participate. Organisations can create a culture of inclusion by removing barriers and enabling employees to contribute. Rehabilitation Case Managers also have a strategic role to play to champion work health and support workforce participation.

Tips for organisations to become disability confident

  • Develop an accessibility action plan.
  • Understand the work needed and match the worker to the job.
  • Understand the needs of the worker—start the conversation.
  • Take a leadership position, build management commitment and raise workforce awareness.
  • Recognise and appreciate that people with a disability have a lot to contribute.
  • Make reasonable adjustments and consider flexible work arrangements to enable individuals to contribute.

Tips for Rehabilitation Case Managers—take a strategic role

  • Discuss how you can provide support with both the worker and the manager.
  • Provide ongoing support to the manager to enable them to support their worker.
  • Continually facilitate discussions between the manager and worker about the measures put in place to support their health and disability.
  • Help educate managers about the important role they play.

Tips for the worker—start the conversation

  • Have productive discussions with your employer to make sure you can carry out good work.
  • You are the best person to let your manager know about your needs—tell them (in-confidence) as much as you feel comfortable sharing and keep in mind the more your employer knows, the better they can support you.
  • Talk about suitable measures to be put in place to enable you to participate—consider flexible work arrangements, changing the type of work you do, gaining access to equipment to help you.

Resources and more information

Page last updated: 16 Jun 2017