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For employers and colleagues

When you need to employ someone, the main priority is to have the right person for the job and that may be someone with disability. People with disability—just like all employees—bring a range of skills and abilities to the workplace, and can strengthen your business through a more diverse, inclusive and stable workforce.

Benefits of employing people with disability or mental illness

There are many benefits to employing people with disability or mental illness. For an individual, it can help to give a sense of confidence and purpose, as well as a sense of being involved and connected with the community. For an employer, it can help to bring a person with unique skills, abilities and talents into the organisation; it can also have positive effects on productivity and team morale.

The Australian Network on Disability details the many business benefits of employing people with disability.

Recruiting people with disability

CRS Australia's Disability Employment Service offers free expert help and will provide any assistance and support you require to employ a person with disability, including:

  • professional recruitment advice
  • help with job design
  • developing job descriptions
  • training and awareness-raising activities for employers, managers and co-workers
  • on the job training and support for employees with disability
  • ongoing support in the workplace
  • help with access to financial support and incentives.

Financial assistance

When employing a person with disability, you may be eligible for financial assistance, such as:

  • the Restart Wage Subsidy—payments of up to $10,000 to employers if they hire an eligible jobseeker aged 50 or older, including those with disability, on a full time basis, and retain that person for 2 years.
  • the Supported Wage System—a productivity based wage assessment system for people with disability.
  • wage subsidies—payments made to eligible employers to help cover the costs of paying wages in the first few months of employing a person with disability.
  • the Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support Program—payments made to employers who employ apprentices with disabilities.
  • the Employment Assistance Fund—reimburses employers for the cost of work-related modifications and services required for employing people with disability e.g. modifications to the physical work environment or work vehicles, AUSLAN interpreting, disability awareness training and communication devices.

Legal responsibilities and rights

Under equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws, employers are required to create a workplace free from discrimination and harassment.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against people due to their disability.* The term ‘disability' covers mental illness.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) administers the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Information is available for employers about:

  • disability discrimination legislation and employment
  • understanding reasonable adjustments
  • the ‘inherit requirements' of a job and discrimination claims
  • privacy and disclosure
  • Commonwealth industrial law
  • occupational health and safety

in the AHRC's guide:

You can contact the AHRC on 1300 656 419 or TTY 1800 620 241.

You can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 for more information about workplace rights and obligations, wages, awards, trading hours and holiday entitlements.

Review of legislation

The Australian Government is currently reviewing federal discrimination law, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, with the aim of consolidating existing Commonwealth anti-discrimination law into a single Act.

Additional information about this review is available on the Attorney-General's Department website. You can also contact the Attorney-General's Department on (02) 6141 6666 or email for more information.

More information

For comprehensive information and resources on employing a person with disability, visit the JobAccess website, or call 1800 464 800.

Make your workplace accessible

The Australian Government's Workplace Adjustment Tool lets employers search for ways to make a workplace more accessible for people with a disability.

The Mindful Employer program

SANE Australia's Mindful Employer program gives employers and employees the skills and knowledge to respond to mental health issues in the workplace.

Did you know?

The National Relay Service has information about how you can make your business relay-service friendly so people with a hearing or speech disability can call you.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
5 December 2014

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