The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines to employees and principals/managers on how to request, apply for and arrange workplace adjustments in corporate and school settings.
The Department of Education and Training (the department) is committed to building diverse and inclusive workplaces and developing workplace cultures that are safe and accessible, build respect, foster inclusiveness, promote diversity and embrace the unique skills and qualities of all our employees.
Employees may require workplace adjustments for many reasons and at different times of their lives. This could be due to work and non-work-related injuries, disability and various health conditions.
What is disability?
There are many different kinds of disability and they can result from accidents, illness or genetic disorders. A disability may affect mobility, ability to learn things, or ability to communicate easily, and some people may have more than one disability. A disability may be visible or hidden, may be permanent or temporary, and may have minimal or substantial impact on a person’s abilities.
The Disability Discrimination Act (Cth) (DDA) defines disability broadly as:
- total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions; or
- total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
- the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
- the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
- the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body; or
- a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
- a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour
The DDA includes a disability that:
- presently exists; or
- previously existed but no longer exists; or
- may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or
- is imputed to a person.
To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.
Employees with disability are valued members of the departments workforce and often do not require any workplace adjustments, but if they do the department will provide adjustments whenever it is needed, possible and reasonable to do so. When adjustments are needed, the process of identifying the adjustments required and gaining approval for these where reasonable, should be straightforward.
All employees and principals/managers should be aware of their rights and responsibilities to ensure that employees have what they need to work safely, effectively and comply with legislation and department policy.
Reviewed 07 March 2023