APSC reasonable adjustment policy
The Commission is committed to providing an accessible, inclusive work environment to enable people with a disability to participate fully in all aspects of employment. This commitment is consistent with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, which seeks to eliminate discrimination and remove barriers for people with disability.
Reasonable adjustment may be required for any number of health or personal circumstances. However, it has particular relevance for people with a disability (or those with a role as an associate). Other applications may include people with:
- caring responsibilities
- those recovering from injury or illness
- people managing a chronic medical condition
- victims of domestic or family violence.
This policy covers adjustments in all aspects of employment. Implementing reasonable adjustments is designed to eliminate barriers so that a person with disability can perform the requirements of the job, have equal opportunity in employment (including promotion) and participate in organisational life on an equal basis. The Commission will consider making changes or modifications for people who request a reasonable adjustment(s) regardless of whether they are people with disability noting that some adjustments are covered by legislation, such as adjustments for pregnant or breastfeeding employees under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
Employees with disability should not face unnecessary barriers in employment. However, adjustments must be reasonable for the Commission to implement. Consultation with the employee with disability is a principle which applies to the implementation of reasonable adjustments. Reasonable adjustments may include:
- changes to work methods and arrangements, including in relation to hours of work, place of work, and use of leave entitlements
- purchasing equipment or computer software
- adjustments to existing technology, communications or information provision, including the form or format in which information is available
- adjustments to work-related rules or policies
- permitting a person to use equipment or assistance provided by the person with disability or by another person or organisation
- providing training to co-workers or supervisors
- providing interpreters or assistants.
Reasonable adjustments do not include changing the inherent requirements of the job or creation of an entirely new job, unless this is in the training or rehabilitation context.
Request for adjustments
If employees require an adjustment, they should discuss this with their manager and make a written request to their manager. This can be done, if the employee wishes, via the Reasonable Adjustment Passport. In making a request to their manager for an adjustment, employees should describe:
- the adjustments they propose
- the reason for the adjustment(s)
- how the adjustment will improve the productivity of the employee.
Evidence, such as a letter from a medical practitioner, may be useful in demonstrating to a decision maker that the adjustment is reasonable. The need for evidence is dependent on the particular request. Employees should note that the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 notes employers are not required to make adjustments to their workplace that would impose unreasonable hardship.
Managers should be supportive of removing barriers for employees with disability in the workplace. The manager should make a decision on a request for a reasonable adjustment promptly to allow employees with disability to work at their most productive. When dealing with a request for an adjustment, a manager may seek information relating to reasonableness such as:
- the benefit of the adjustment to the employee
- any detriment to any other affected employees
- the cost of the adjustment or other relevant operational matters
- the availability of other sources of funding.
The manager should also take into account any recommendations from the Human Resources Team, Corporate Group. In some cases, the Human Resources Team may have alternate solutions or more up to date information about options. The manager, or other representative of the Commission, has a responsibility to consider each set of circumstances on its own merit, taking account of the individual's circumstances and the overall context of the situation. Where a manager declines a request for an adjustment, the employee can ask to have the matter re-considered by the Group Manager, Corporate. Managers should ensure that they treat disability information confidentially, in line with the Privacy Act, 1998.
Any cost for reasonable adjustment will be met from a centrally coordinated budget managed by the Group Manager, Corporate. Funding for non-standard equipment and services may be available through Job Access' Employment Assistance Fund. This Australian Government fund assists employers to make adjustments.
Implementation and evaluation
Once approved, an adjustment should be made as quickly as possible. The Commission aims to make adjustments within 10 working days of a manager agreeing to a request, or will explain to the employee why the adjustment cannot be made within this period e.g where there is a reliance on a third party to supply equipment or services
Managers should organise a review meeting with the employee after a trial period to discuss whether the adjustment was effective and whether any follow up is necessary.
Reasonable Adjustments Passport
People with disability may voluntarily choose to record their reasonable adjustments in a 'Passport'. The Passport assists employees with disability communicate their reasonable adjustment needs with managers, should they change. It provides a mechanism for official recognition of an adjustment, assuming the underlying circumstances have not changed.
Managers and employees can also discuss reasonable adjustments with Job Access on 1800 464 800, a Commonwealth funded service provider who can assist with expert advice at no charge.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following documents:
- Working away from the office policy
- Flexible work arrangements policy
- National Disability Strategy
- As One: APS Disability Employment Strategy
- Working together: promoting mental health and wellbeing at work
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- Fair Work Act 2009
- Public Service Act 1999
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984