The disability royal commission – what the findings mean for your company

Late in September, the Australian Government released their findings from the Disability Royal Commission.

With 222 recommendations, this can mean a lot of changes for many industries in Australia when it comes to the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.

While these changes will be gradually implemented in phases over several years, change can be daunting and unknown for companies. So, here are some of the key findings and workplace recommendations from the Disability Royal Commission, and what they actually mean for your company.

The removal of segregated employment

One of the biggest findings to come out of the Disability Royal Commission was the recommendation to remove segregated employment, which includes Australian Disability Enterprises (also known as ADEs). These workplaces are often categorised due to the fact that they can pay people with disability below the minimum wage which is around $23 an hour.

For most companies, this finding won’t have a major impact on the running of their business. However, it is an important reminder that people with disability deserve to be paid according to their qualifications, workload and hours worked.

If you are worried about paying a person with disability in a way that might affect their pension, have that discussion with them and/or their trusted person.

Removing exclusion and barriers to employment

A report from the Sydney Morning Herald quoting NDIS Minister Bill Shorten stated that “47 per cent of adults with a disability were excluded from the labour market”. Unfortunately, this is a statistic that we’re all familiar with at The Field. According to our research, there are currently 500,000 working-age people with disability actively seeking employment.

For companies, if you’re reading this article as a registered employer on the Field, then you’ve already made a great step towards ensuring your hiring processes are accessible and inclusive! Things such as educating yourself about disability and considering ways to make your workplace accessible will help to remove any internal biases and external barriers.

One of The Field’s workshops includes a comprehensive list of ways to make your hiring process fully accessible, but as a summary, just remember that people with disability have a range of skills and qualifications that they can offer your company. Never assume they won’t be suitable just because of their disability.

Changes to the Disability Discrimination Act

Currently, what is considered discrimination against a person with disability is outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. As it was written over three decades ago, a concern was raised by the Royal Disability Commission that it is no longer up to date or provide incentives for employers to ensure that people with disability are not being discriminated against.

For companies, when looking at this from a workplace perspective and not just a hiring perspective as previously touched on, it’s about creating an environment where people are comfortable to speak up for themselves and others, both with disability and those without.

It’s about asking yourself whether everyone is given an opportunity to take part in everything from team meetings to team building activities. It’s about asking whether a person with disability was ever excluded purely because of their disability and were there steps that could have been taken that would have prevented it occurring.

Creating a disability policy which outlines what is considered discrimination, who to contact if discrimination was to occur and the potential consequences, can also ensure that employees have a clear understanding when it comes to discrimination.

In summary, the findings from the Disability Royal Commission will have a minimal effect on your company if you are already consciously ensuring that people with disability are treated and included like everyone else.

If you’re interested in learning more on how to be a more inclusive company, click here to explore our bundles which provide complimentary access to our learning hub.


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