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.
Minimum pay rate and Supported Wage System
Every employee is entitled to a minimum rate of pay. For most employees, this minimum rate is set by the award that covers their industry or occupation.
The Supported Wage System is for employees with disability who are not able to perform jobs at the same capacity as any other employee.
Under the Supported Wage System an employee's work capacity is assessed to find out their rate of pay. This assessment can only be carried out by a qualified independent assessor.
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 potential employee because of their disability. Adverse action against someone with disability could include:
- not hiring a potential employee
- offering an employee or a potential employee different and unfair terms and conditions for the job compared to other employees
- treating an employee differently to other employees
- causing disadvantage to an employee (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.
You can also find where to get help for bullying and harassment on our Bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination at work page.
Types of employees
Employees have different entitlements depending on their type of employment.
Find out more:
- Fixed term
- Daily hire and weekly hire
- Apprentices and trainees
There are also other government and private organisations that can provide assistance for employees with disability.
Government resources and services
Australian Human Rights Commission
IncludeAbility is an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission that supports:
- people with disability looking for work
- employers who want to create meaningful employment opportunities for employees with disability.
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.