Disclosure and workplace adjustments
Reasonable workplace adjustments can have a positive impact on your work productivity, but you can’t request these without discussing your disability. Having this conversation allows you to formulate specific ways that you and your supervisor/manager can collaborate so that you can successfully do your job.
For many people, disclosing a disability or medical condition can be challenging and stressful. It is important to remember that it is your right to choose whether you disclose a disability (unless there is a safety concern for you or other people). Here are some considerations to guide you through the process:
Identify why you are disclosing:
People choose to disclose their disability for a variety of reasons, for example, knowing you may need workplace adjustments to perform your role effectively.
When to disclose:
It's not essential to share specific medical or personal information about a disability. The information about your disability you share will depend on your reasons for disclosing it.
It is important to remember that your disability is only relevant if it has an impact on the job role requirements and can help you and your manager identify any work-related adjustments that may be needed.
Choosing when you disclose you have a disability is a personal decision. The best time will depend on many factors. You always have the opportunity to disclose you have a disability if you choose to do so. A good opportunity might be:
- During the application process
- At the job interview
- When an offer of employment is made
- Anytime in the job
If you choose to disclose you have a disability during your period of employment, you can do so through Staff Services Online.
Reasonable workplace adjustments
Reasonable Adjustments are measures or actions taken to assist staff with a disability to enable them are able to fully and safely participate at the University of Adelaide.
An adjustment is considered reasonable if it achieves this objective, taking into consideration the specific needs of the staff member, and balancing these with the interests of all parties affected (including the individual, the University, other staff).
An adjustment is not reasonable if the making of the adjustment would constitute ‘unjustifiable hardship’ on another person or the University.
The University will provide reasonable workplace adjustments, to ensure that all staff have equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of workplace life, especially regarding the following:
- Recruitment processes
- Performance of duties
- Employment benefits and conditions
- Professional and career development
- Physical access to buildings and facilities
- Information access
- A safe working environment.
Reasonable workplace changes may be administrative, environmental, procedural, temporary, or long-term changes. Examples of Reasonable Adjustments that may be considered include:
- Modifying work premises;
- Changing job design, work schedules, or other work practices;
- Providing or modifying equipment;
- Providing training or other assistance;
Providing flexible work arrangements.
How to request a reasonable workplace adjustment
Reasonable workplace adjustments - Exceptions
The University will consider all requests for Reasonable Adjustments to enable equal access and opportunities for staff with disabilities except in the following instances:
- Where the provision of adjustments or measures would impose “unjustifiable hardship” on the University;
- Where, even with the provision of all Reasonable Adjustments, the staff member remains unable to fulfil the “inherent requirements” of the position (see below);
- Where the staff member with a disability has an infectious disease or other condition that requires isolation to protect their health and welfare or the health and welfare of others.
In determining “unjustifiable hardship”, all relevant circumstances of the particular case will be taken into account, as prescribed by the Disability Discrimination Act.
Inherent requirements can be defined as:
- The ability to perform the tasks or functions which are a necessary part of the job;
- Productivity and quality requirements;
- The ability to work effectively in the team or other type of work organisation concerned;
- The ability to work safely.
Temporary disability and rehabilitation support
A temporary disability can be defined as a disability that affects you for a short period of time but is not permanent. These conditions may keep you incapacitated or out of work for a few days, weeks, months or even years, but typically results in the eventual recovery. Examples of temporary disabilities may include broken limbs, concussion, hand injuries, or short-term impairments following surgery or medical treatments. Most staff are able to return to work to their normal duties after a non-work-related injury or illness, however, in some circumstances additional support may assist in promoting recovery and a safe return to work.
Please refer to Injury Management – Rehabilitation for Non-Work-Related Injuries or Illness for guidance on the support available.
Incapacity to work due to disability
If you are unable to work as a result of a temporary disability, you can access leave with the support of a medical certificate. Depending on your available leave balance the following options may be available:
- Personal leave
- Annual leave
- Long service leave
- Leave without pay
Please refer to the University of Adelaide Enterprise Agreement for further information.
You may also be eligible for Temporary Incapacity insurance with Unisuper. Please refer to the UniSuper website for information and for the contact details for on-campus support.