The choice to share your disability information at work is a personal one.
To help you decide whether to share your disability, you may want to consider these five questions:
- WHY would you share?
- WHAT will you share?
- WHEN will you share?
- TO WHOM will you share?
- HOW will you share?
Being informed about how to share your disability information, and what to share, will help you in sharing information about yourself confidently and safely.
Why you should share your disability information
There are many reasons for, and benefits that come from, sharing your disability at work. You can decide at any time who you wish to share your disability information with, and how much detail to provide. Sharing can have a variety of positive impacts on you and your employer.
Understanding your needs
Sharing your disability information can start a conversation that will help your employer to better understand and support you to undertake your work comfortably and safely. These conversations could happen when you commence your employment or at a later stage. Sharing your disability information could also help your manager and your agency effectively support you should your circumstances change.
Bringing out your best
Without adjustments, your work environment or work practices may be limiting you from performing your best. Adjustments can positively impact your wellbeing and work performance. Examples of these may include: a quiet desk location if you have anxiety; flexibility in work hours to attend medical appointments; your manager providing written instructions by email to you after meetings; or a private space at the workplace for injecting medications.
Helping to protect you from discrimination
Sharing information about your disability may help clarify your agency’s responsibilities regarding your employment. These responsibilities include the protections against discrimination that apply under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA) and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) (ADA). You can find more information about disability discrimination by visiting the websites of the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW.
Providing an inclusive workplace for everyone
Sharing your disability helps your employer become better equipped to provide an inclusive workplace for everyone. Research has demonstrated that inclusive organisations are more innovative, productive and enjoy greater employee engagement. Sharing your disability can help your workplace, and team members, have a better understanding of a person with disability. It also allows you to be yourself at work, and to express yourself openly and freely.
What information should I share
The information you provide is your choice and can based on what you would like to achieve. You may choose only to share that you have disability; you do not need to tell anyone about the type of disability you experience or your medical diagnosis. When considering what to share, think about what you need from your employer to improve your workplace experience.
It is your right to request that your disability information be treated confidentially, and not shared with your manager or other team members. If you experience difficulties at work due to your disability, please speak with your Human Resources team, and/or manager, about what can be done to make things easier for you.
Do I need a medical certificate?
If you need workplace adjustments, you should explain what these are, and you may need to provide evidence to support your request for an adjustment.
As is the case with any extended period of sick leave, a medical certificate will be required if you need to take long-term sick leave due to your disability.
How to share information
Sharing your disability information in the workplace can happen in many ways, for example:
- When applying for an NSW public sector role on the ‘I work for NSW’ website
- When commencing a new role and completing your new starter paperwork
- By talking with your manager or colleagues
- By indicating that you are a person with disability in your employer’s Human Capital Management (HCM) system e.g. SAP or Oracle
- By indicating that you are a person with disability in workplace surveys, such as the NSW public sector People Matter Employee Survey (PMES)
It is also important to be aware that due to privacy legislation and agency ICT (Information and Communications Technology) systems and processes, you may be required to share your information more than once. For example, if you share your disability in your onboarding paperwork, it may not be carried over into the HCM system. It is also possible that your information may not carry over if you change teams or roles. In each case, you can ask that this information be treated confidentially and not be shared with your manager or other team members.
Why is disability information captured in Human Capital Management (HCM) systems?
Sharing your disability status in the HCM system assists your agency to become a better place to work for you and others. HCM systems capture a range of data about employees, including disability information, to help agencies understand the characteristics of their workforce. Disability information from HCM systems is also used for workforce information reporting for NSW Government.
Who will have access to my information
You have control of your information. If you share information about your disability in the Human Capital Management (HCM) system, that information must be kept secure and confidential in line with the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) (HRIP Act). You can find more information about the HRIP Act from the NSW Information and Privacy Commission. Any information stored in your agency’s HCM system should be accessible only to the human resources team. You have the right to ask to view the information stored in such a system, and to ask for it to be amended if it is incorrect.
Your employer will provide the NSW Public Service Commission (PSC) with information from its HCM system, although the information shared will not identify you in any way. The PSC is committed to making the NSW government a safe and welcoming place for people with disability. One of the things we use this type of information for is to see how well agencies are including people with disability in their workforce. The PSC also uses this information to create the Annual State of the Public Sector report which reports on workforce trends, including disability representation.
Another way you may be asked to share your disability information is in a survey. An explanation of how your information will be used should be given to you at the beginning of the survey. The annual PMES is an example of a survey that asks you to indicate if you are a person with disability and whether you experience a mental health condition. The PSC collects the responses of this survey directly to understand the composition, characteristics and experiences of the NSW public sector workforce. This information is then shared with your employer to help them understand the workforce better. The PMES is anonymous and you will not be identified by name at any point.
Who can see my information?
The table below explains who has access to your information depending on if and where you share it.
|Who can see||Job Application||Health Declaration||HCM System||Surveys|
|HR/People and Culture||HR will know and be able to organise adjustments for the interview process||Yes. This information is stored on file and not used by anyone else.||Yes||Yes. Your organisation may get reports summarising the results of surveys.|
|Immediate Manager||HR will notify the Hiring Manager only if adjustments need to be made for the interview. Hiring Managers will not have access to this information otherwise.||No||No||No|
|Other||Yes. The PSC will have access to aggregated information, but it will be de-identified.||No||Yes. The PSC will have access to this information but will not know whose information it is.||Yes. The PSC will have access to this information but will not know whose information it is.|
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