Employees with disability including mental health conditions may require workplace adjustments to perform and thrive in their role at work.
A workplace adjustment is a change to a work process, procedure or environment that allows a person with disability to:
- perform to the best of their ability
- work productively
- work in a safe environment
- feel included in the workplace
- increase their engagement and motivation to improve performance.
Most adjustments are simple and easy to arrange, while others may require more time to put into place. Workplaces need to consider every possible option for adjustment for staff with disability to perform their role.
You can request an adjustment by speaking to your manager or HR team.
Workplace adjustments can be funded through JobAccess.
Types of adjustments available
Workplace adjustments can range from changes to workplace practices and environments to assistive technology and equipment.
Below are examples of adjustments available to ask for, however if you have a disability speak to your manager or HR team about your specific needs to ensure they are met.
If you are a manager of a staff member with a disability, do not make assumptions and speak to your staff about their needs and what they may require to perform their role.
Workplace practice adjustments
- Provide flexible working arrangements e.g. flexible start and finish times, working from home, working part-time, working in different locations
- Change how information is communicated in the workplace
- Provide a support person or mentor
- Ensure workplace documents and web content are accessible
- Provide information in requested formats
- Modify the job requirements e.g. co-workers exchanging tasks or removing a non-essential job task
- Adapt performance and development programs to meet individual needs.
Workplace environment adjustments
- Built-in accessibility features on devices (phones, computers, laptops, iPads, tablets)
- Software e.g. text to speech, speech recognition, screen reading, screen magnification
- Adjustable equipment, including monitors, tables, chairs, mouse and keyboard
- Refreshable braille displays for reading text
- Adaptive switches that enable people to use technology.
Accessible technology and equipment adjustments
- Work at a designated workstation
- Add Braille signage in communal work locations e.g. meeting rooms, photocopier area, kitchen
- Provide a parking space close to the work location for an employee who uses a wheelchair or has mobility issues
- Modify an inaccessible building to enable access to a building or bathroom facilities.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, workplaces must provide workplace adjustments if requested. This Act provides an exception if the cost or difficulties of providing access will place an unjustifiable hardship on a person or organisation. You can find out more about unjustifiable hardship by reading the Australian Human Rights Commission's online guide.
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW), organisations need to ensure that their workplace is healthy and safe. This includes managing risks and potential risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees.
Work Health and Safety legislation does not override disability anti-discrimination legislative responsibilities. Workplaces need to be able to manage both legal responsibilities. For example, if you are unable to participate safely in the workplace after all reasonable adjustments are taken it may be considered that you cannot meet the inherent requirements of the role.
Some workplaces may already have workplace adjustment policies and procedures in place. To find out, you can search the intranet or speak to your workplace disability employment network, HR or diversity teams.
Asking for adjustments
If you are a public sector employee, you can ask for an adjustment by having a confidential conversation with your manager or HR.
Before you meet, it is best to reflect on what you require. You can also seek advice from your disability employment network or people that you see for your disability. Where different ways of working are required, such as changing work hours or locations, ideally these should be organised in line with existing flexible working policies.
If adjustments are needed to the work environment or specific tools are recommended, funding a free workplace modification assessment can be arranged.
If you identify as a person with disability to your manager, then it is recommended that you reflect this by updating your workforce profile.
If you are a manager, and an employee identifies to you as having a disability, encourage them to reflect that in their workforce profile.
Recruiting people with disability
Making the workplace accessible
Getting support for your disability
How to lead change in the workplace
Disability employment events
The Age of Inclusion
Learn more about disability
Managing in the age of inclusion