6. People with disability: cracking the code
Get the facts
The APS encourages and values diversity by supporting workplace cultures based on fair and equitable treatment of employees. Supporting the employment of people with disability is a key focus of the APS commitment to workplace diversity.
A job in the APS can provide you with opportunities to apply your skills, work in various areas and access professional development.
During the application process you may be asked to identify if you have a disability. It is entirely your decision to do so, and you are not required to disclose this information. However, if you do choose to disclose that you have a disability it will enable the contact officer to get in touch with you to see if any reasonable adjustments need to be made to the process to assist you in presenting your case fairly. Information about the nature of your disability is not needed.
Reasonable adjustment, sometimes referred to as workplace adjustment, reflects the understanding that people with disability can often perform the tasks of a job where adjustments are made to allow them to work to the best of their ability. There is no exhaustive list of what kinds of changes can be made. There are many different types of disability, and they affect people in individual ways.
In most cases, APS vacancies will have a contact officer when advertised. This person is there to provide information about the job and assist you with any questions or adjustments you may need during the application and selection process.
Any information you provide is confidential. Health information about a job applicant or employee, including information about a disability, is ‘sensitive information’ for the purposes of the Privacy Act 1988. Sensitive information has a high level of protection and your consent is required for the information to be collected or shared with anybody in the agency.
Many APS vacancies are advertised under the RecruitAbility scheme—the job advertisement will tell you if RecruitAbility applies.
RecruitAbility encourages the employment of people with disability by offering you an opportunity to progress to the next stage in the assessment process if you opt into the scheme, declare you have a disability, and meet the minimum requirements of the job. More information about RecruitAbility is available www.apsc.gov.au/recruitability.
Affirmative measure: Disability employment provisions
The disability affirmative measure allows a particular job in the APS to be open only to people with disability, or with a particular type of disability. The measure is designed to address the under-representation of people with disability in APS agencies, and is consistent with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
The measure can be applied to ongoing (permanent), non-ongoing (temporary) and casual APS jobs, and includes senior level vacancies. It is not restricted to jobs with a disability-related function. You can search for jobs that have been advertised under this affirmative measure on the APSjobs website.
The measure can also be applied to recruit candidates who are participants with a disability employment service, and who have been assessed as being likely to be unable to compete successfully on merit due to their disability.
More information is available in the Affirmative measure: Disability employment applicant guide.
What is available for people with an intellectual disability?
The disability affirmative measure allows a job to be made available to only people with intellectual disability, aiming to improve their opportunities for employment in the APS. A job may be advertised on APSjobs, or an agency may recruit a candidate with intellectual disability through a disability employment service where they have been assessed as unlikely to be able to compete on merit.
Find out more
The Australian Government provides a number of services and assistance for people with disability looking for employment. Information about these services is available at www.jobaccess.gov.au.
Myth versus Reality
If I identify that I have a disability I won’t be considered for the job
The APS encourages and values diversity by supporting workplace cultures based on the fair treatment of all employees. Including people with disability in our workplaces also helps us to better meet the needs of the wider community. Identifying that you are a person with disability will enable the selection panel to ensure that any reasonable adjustments are made so you can perform at your best.
People with disability only get employed in lower level jobs
We employ people based on their skills and abilities to perform the job requirements. Reading the job description and speaking with the contact officer will help you decide whether it is the right job for you to apply for.
In the know
If you need a reasonable adjustment to be made during the application or selection process, get in touch with the vacancy contact officer. The contact officer will be able to assist you with organising any adjustments you need. Contact the Human Resource section of the agencies that you are interested in working for and discuss the employment pathways they offer.