I have a disability and need to work to be able to live a happy, healthy life.
Gaining employment isn’t easy but having a disability makes it even harder.
I am confronted with misconceptions and even discrimination in trying to gain employment. These are some misconceptions.
I can’t support someone with disability
It’s not that daunting. Training and guidelines are available.
Being open is important and this can begin by putting a statement in the job advertisement encouraging those with disability to apply.
Also add a section in the application asking if the applicant wants to disclose their disability, and if so, what support they need. I like to add that I have a disability and require wheelchair access.
Allow the person with disability to contact the employer and ask questions or call the applicant.
I can’t ask about their disability needs
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I am open and honest about what I expect from my workplace.
People with disability don’t need jobs because they receive benefits
It is expensive to have a disability because I require the same as able-bodied people (e.g. shelter, food, clothing) and additional equipment and needs such as wheelchairs.
I don’t receive government funding just because I have a disability. I do receive NDIS funding but that is limited and only covers extras I need such as medical equipment and therapies.
People with disability are best suited to unskilled work
Don’t assume my abilities and needs. I have a clear understanding of my abilities. I also don’t apply for jobs that I cannot do. I confidently apply knowing that I have the qualifications, skills, experience and the ability to do a good job.
Hiring someone with a disability requires modifications to the workplace and it will be expensive
Many people with disability don’t require any modifications.
I require minor and reasonable modifications, many of which are by law and achievable with government funding. I require wheelchair access (a lift and/or ramp), a bathroom, desk at reasonable height, and other equipment within reach.
I encourage all businesses to assess their workplaces and to make changes to be more inclusive for both employees and customers.
People with disability can’t work the hours my business needs and will take too many sick days.
I have worked full time, 7.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. In 12 months, I only took two sick days.
People with disability can only be employed through an agency
People with a disability can apply on their own behalf. My application is stronger when I apply because I know my abilities, skills and experience.