The staff member next to you may have disability

Did you realise that one in five people in Australia have some form of disability? So, the chances that you are employing – or working with – someone within this statistic is very high.

A disability is a limitation, impairment or restriction that may limit full and effective participation in society—it may be physical, mental, intellectual or sensory.

According to The Australian Network on Disability:

  • Only 4.4% of people with a disability in Australia use a wheelchair
  • 1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss. There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users with total hearing loss
  • Vision Australia estimates there are currently 357,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision. This number will grow to 564,000 by 2030
  • 45% of Australians aged 16–85 years, experience a mental health condition during their lifetime
  • 3 million Australians live with depression or anxiety

So, you can see that disabilities are widespread and may not be obvious. In many cases you would not know your colleague has disability unless they told you. Their disability does not affect work performance or attendance.

Of course, in some cases a person may need job accommodations to perform the essential functions such as flexibility in work hours or ergonomic changes to office equipment. If you are working with CVGT, some of these physical alterations to the work environment can be funded.

Along with all these facts, people with disability still face employment barriers which can include discrimination, isolation and misconception.

But the workplace is changing. The Diversity Council of Australia has found:

  • Three out of four Australian workers support or strongly support their organisation taking action to create a workplace which is diverse and inclusive.
  • People working in inclusive teams are ten times more likely to work effectively together, nine times more likely to innovate, and five times more likely to provide fantastic customer service.
  • People with disability working in inclusive teams were up to 30 times more likely to say they worked more effectively, six times more likely to say they provided excellent customer service and three times more likely to provide extra discretionary effort.
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