When it comes to managing HR, the easiest way forward will usually be every CEO’s first choice. Unfortunately, for many of the highly skilled and qualified workers out there that have a visible disability, the perception that they’re going to be high maintenance employees keeps them from getting shortlisted as candidates. Not all disabilities require much extra consideration from employers, quite often it’s simply a matter of providing a safe and non-judgemental workplace and this is someone every human is entitled to, it shouldn’t be an extra consideration just for workers with additional needs.
The key to hiring new employees is always to keep an open dialogue. In that way, those with limitations or additional needs can safely express concerns or make requests around what they need in order to thrive and perform well within their roles.
There are also government assistance programs to make it easier and more cost-effective for the businesses that are employing workers that have additional needs. The NSW government, in particular, has taken an interest in boosting the support businesses receive that hire workers with disabilities so that it can happen more frequently.
Employment Assistance Fund
This fund seeks to make it easier for workers with disabilities to settle into the work environments and it also reduces the costs faced by employers by providing funding for work modification tools and services. Many business owners are unaware that this fund exists, with the help of this fund, workplaces can become more equitable and accessible to all workers. The Employment Assistance Fun will cover costs relating to;
- The cost of modifications to the physical work environment.
- Modifications to work vehicles.
- Adaptive equipment for the workplace.
- Information and communication devices.
- Auslan interpreting (Australian sign language).
- Specialist services for employees with specific learning disorders and mental health conditions.
- Disability awareness training.
- Deafness awareness training.
- Mental health awareness training.
Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support (DAAWS)
This program is all about making training accessible so that workers with disabilities can thrive in their roles. As an employer, you can get funding via this grant to enrol your workers with disabilities in on-the-job and off-the-job training programs. It applies to programs that involve tutoring, mentoring, note-taking or Auslan interpreting and it can be used for full-time employees, trainees, and apprentices provided they have a disability and they’re Australian citizens.
For any employers that are concerned that it might take a few months for a new employee with a disability to settle in and achieve the required level of productivity, the wage subsidy government aid is there to assist. This program seeks to encourage employers to hire workers with a disability by promising to subsidise the cost of their salary. It also seeks to reduce the pressure on a person with a disability, giving them a few months to find their groove and settle in properly. Wage subsidies are available through a number of programs including:
- Wage Subsidy Scheme for job seekers registered with a Disability Employment Services provider.
- Wage Connect subsidies encourage employers to offer jobs to long term unemployed people registered with an Australian Government employment service provider.
- Employment Pathways Fund for job seekers registered with Job Services Australia.
- Indigenous Wage Subsidy for job seekers participating in Community Development Employment Projects, or registered with Centrelink or a Job Services Australia provider as actively seeking work.