Implementing workplace adjustments
It is the responsibility of principals/managers to ensure that workplace adjustments are in place where they are needed to support staff to perform their duties.
Step 1 – Discuss
Staff member or principal/manager can initiate the discussion regarding what adjustments are required to meet the staff members particular situation and their needs. Further advice and support can be explored during the initial stage where some additional information may be required to decide on the most suitable approach. The goal of this discussion is to ensure that everyone is comfortable with, and in agreement with the next steps in the process.
In some cases, the initial discussion will provide clarity about what is needed, and the principal/manager and staff member can agree on what adjustments, and what steps to take to put these in place. This may include some funding and approvals that can be quickly and easily managed within the school or region (see following sections on approvals and funding).
Step 2 – Seek advice
In some cases, help from others may be needed. This could be because the job role is new to the staff member, or requires time to adjust to their changed health condition and understand more fully what will work best for them. New environments may also make it difficult to predict exactly what is needed until a person commences working in them. Employee Safety, Wellbeing and Inclusion Division can provide support to both principals/managers and staff on the implementation of workplace adjustments.
There are a range of policies, resources and services that may be able to give advice on a workplace adjustment, including but not limited to:
- an (refer to page 11 for more information on ergonomic assessments)
- advice from the department's expert health and safety
- support from the Commonwealth Government through
- medical advice from the
- informal advice and support from the employee led
If further advice is needed, the principal/manager must obtain the staff members permission to seek support from the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion team which may require meeting with the staff member to obtain consent, clarify specific needs and seek any additional information.
OHS Advisory Service
Staff and principals with OHS queries can access the department's expert health and safety support service. The OHS Advisory Service can provide help with implementing the OHS Management System, reporting or closing hazards or incidents in eduSafe Plus (staff login required), conducting workstation assessments, conducting risk assessments and other OHS issues.
Our OHS Advisory Service now has mental health and wellbeing specialists to assist leadership teams to proactively safeguard wellbeing and respond to wellbeing issues.
JobAccess is a Commonwealth Government organisation which provides information and advice to assist with the employment of people with disability. The service is free and can assist with all aspects of disability employment including workplace assessments to determine what changes need to be made, coordination of any work required and financial assistance. JobAccess Advisors can be contacted on 1800 464 800.
Job access can also assist with finding a professional such as an Occupational Therapist to provide an assessment on any of the following:
- Job Task Analysis
- Clinical Psych Assessment
- Workplace/Workstation Assessment
- Activities of Daily Living Assessment
- Vocational/Job Capability Assessment
- Cognitive/Neuro-Psych Assessment
- Fitness for Duties Examination
- Exercise Physiology/Dietician Assessment
- Functional Capacity Evaluation
A workplace modification assessment may assist the principal/manager and the staff member to work out what workplace adjustments will best meet the needs of the staff member. The assessment is undertaken by a qualified professional. The assessor will look at the workplace and any barriers that may exist; and talk with the staff member and to their principals/managers to find solutions to make their workplace more flexible, accessible and suitable to their requirements.
The workplace modification assessment will usually result in the preparation of a report which may include one or more recommendations. JobAccess will work with principals/managers to implement the recommendations and arrange for Commonwealth funding to reimburse the costs of the modifications in most cases.
Step 3 – Make a plan
At this stage the principal/manager and staff member make a plan, outlining the type of adjustment(s) they need to enable them to undertake the inherent requirements of the job safely and effectively. , (if applicable), and/or the DE Enablers Network can assist with the development of a plan. You can also contact the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion team at
Step 4 – Get approval (if required) and implement
A decision to approve (or not) the workplace adjustment must be made within 21 days of the request. If denied, an explanation is to be provided in writing to the requesting staff member. Some approvals will require the delegated authority to approve, for example if a flexible work arrangement or requiring financial approvals.
In most cases workplace adjustments have minimal or no cost. The most common type of adjustment is flexible work arrangements that allows a person to manage their health and be productive and happy. Where an adjustment does have a cost involved, the cost is usually small, and as such schools and regions should consider if they can fund this from their internal budgets. Where this is not possible there are a number of options:
- the individual or the principal/manager can apply for financial assistance from the Australian Government’s , which has been established to provide financial assistant to undertake workplace modifications, purchase equipment and provide other support and services where required – some eligibility criteria apply
- schools seeking funding for reasonable adjustments (which cannot be met by the school’s budget) should write to the Regional Director outlining a case for financial assistance. This request must be supported by appropriate documentation from the professional who performed the workplace assessment and any quotations.
Once the adjustment has been approved, the principal will be responsible for implementing the workplace adjustment.
Request for change of hours
Step 5 – Review
The workplace adjustment once fully implemented should be reviewed regularly and/or when things change. For example, a change in the nature of the disability, a change in work duties, a change in work location and/or health.
Feedback may be requested on effectiveness of adjustment, for example, at the end of a trial period. One way to do this is to embed conversations with the person at regular catch up meetings. These are good opportunities to ask how the arrangements are working and to check in to see if requirements have changed and any workplace adjustments should be modified.
Chapter of the Disability and Reasonable Adjustment — Employees Policy about disability considerations
Reviewed 18 August 2023