Employees with disability
All employees working in Australia have workplace rights, including to minimum wages and conditions of employment. Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment, free from unlawful discrimination, bullying and harassment.
We have help, information and guidance for employees with disability, for their employers and for employers looking to hire a prospective employee who may have disability.
On this page:
Workplace rights and entitlements
All employees have minimum workplace rights and entitlements. For more information, see our Employment conditions section.
Supported Wage System pay rates
The Supported Wage System applies to employees with disability and who have a reduced work capacity. Use our Pay and Conditions Tool to calculate pay rates for employees who are eligible for a supported wage.
For more information, including who can be paid under the Supported Wage System, see Employees with disability pay rates.
Protections at work
All employees have protected rights at work. These include:
- workplace rights
- taking or not taking part in industrial activities or belonging or not belonging to an industrial association
- being free from unlawful discrimination.
Employees can’t be treated differently or worse because of their workplace rights, or for a discriminatory reason. For more information, see Protections at work.
Disability discrimination in the workplace
It’s unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against an employee or prospective employee because of their disability. Adverse action against someone with disability could include:
- not hiring a prospective employee
- offering a prospective employee different and unfair terms and conditions for the job compared to other employees
- treating an employee differently to other employees
- injuring the employee in their employment, for example, not giving an employee minimum entitlements such as pay or leave
- changing an employee's job to their disadvantage
- firing an employee.
It’s also unlawful to discriminate against or harass an employee or potential employee under federal, state and territory anti-discrimination laws.
For more information, see Protection from discrimination at work.
Bullying and harassment in the workplace
A worker, including a person with disability, is protected at work from bullying and sexual harassment.
For more information, see our Bullying and harassment page.
Flexible working arrangements
Some employees, including employees with disability, who have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months can request flexible working arrangements, such as:
- working different hours
- altering their patterns of work
- working at a different location.
There are rules about how to make the request and how employers should respond.
Employees covered by an award also have some extra rights when asking for flexible working arrangements.
For more information, see our Flexible working arrangements page.
Tools and resources
We have a range of free Tools and resources that can help all employers and employees understand their rights and obligations.
Our Workplace problems section has information to help you fix a workplace problem or prevent one from happening.
Use our Pay and Conditions Tool to calculate minimum pay rates, leave and notice and redundancy entitlements, including for employees who are eligible for a supported wage.
Free online courses for employers
Our Diversity and discrimination course has tips on how to promote diversity, prevent discrimination and handle complaints in your workplace.
Our Workplace flexibility course will show you how to make flexibility work for your business.
Our website is developed and designed to be used by everyone, including people with disability.
We aim to meet the Australian Government’s web accessibility requirements, which include complying with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards .
For more information see our Accessibility page.
Hearing and speech assistance
If you have a hearing or speech impairment and want to talk to us, you can call us through the National Relay Service.
Visit the National Relay Service Website or call TTY on 133 677 or Speak and Listen on 1800 555 727.
We're open 8am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday (except for public holidays).
Problems can happen in any workplace. Check our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical information about:
- working out if there is a problem
- speaking with your employer or employee about fixing the problem
- getting help from us if you can't fix the problem.
Our Preventing workplace problems section has information to help prevent workplace problems from happening in the first place
Other assistance and resources
There are also other government and private organisations that can provide assistance for employees with disability.
Government resources and services
Australian Human Rights Commission
The Australian Human Rights Commission considers and accepts complaints of workplace discrimination and harassment covered under federal law including complaints based on disability.
Disability Discrimination Act
You can find definitions of disability and discrimination for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 in that Act .
Fair Work Commission
You can contact the Fair Work Commission if you’ve lost your job and think you were sacked because of unlawful discrimination or for a reason that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable. You have 21 days to apply starting the day after you were dismissed. Check for more information at the Commission website .
JobAccess is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers.
JobAccess also supports a number of ways for you to make a complaint or to report abuse or neglect of people with disability through their National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline .
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides funding directly to people with disability.
The RecruitAbility scheme aims to attract and develop applicants with disability into the Australian Public Service (APS). The scheme also aims to facilitate cultural change in selection panels and agency recruitment.
State or territory anti-discrimination bodies
State or territory anti-discrimination bodies can consider and investigate breaches of state or territory anti-discrimination laws in workplaces.
Australian Network on Disability
The Australian Network on Disability (AND) is a national, not for profit organisation who assist organisations to develop their behaviours, attitudes, systems and knowledge so they can successfully engage with people with disability as staff, customers and stakeholders.
People with Disability Australia
People With Disability Australia (PWDA) is a national disability rights, advocacy and representative organisation that is made up of, led and governed by people with disability.