Employee rights for young people with additional needs
Like all employees, your child with disability, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other additional needs has protected rights at work. These protected rights include being free from discrimination at work.
To find out about your child’s rights at work, go to Fair Work Ombudsman – Protection from discrimination at work.
Telling employers about additional needs
Your child can choose whether to tell employers about a disability or other additional needs. But this can be a tricky decision.
To make this decision, your child might need to think about her personal strengths and her support needs. She might consider whether she could do the job well without support, or whether some support would help her do it better.
Another consideration is the organisation’s reputation for hiring, supporting and including employees with additional needs.
Your child could use this information to draw up a list of the pros and cons of telling an employer about additional needs. For example:
- Pros might include additional support or adjustments so your child can do the job well.
- Cons might include the risk that employers or colleagues will make negative assumptions about your child’s abilities.
Whatever your child decides, he has no legal obligation to tell potential employers about his additional needs. And employers don’t have the right to ask or know. It’s about deciding what’s going to be best for your child in the workplace.
Entitlements to reasonable adjustments for additional needs
Your child is entitled to reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process, tasks, hours, equipment and environment to ensure she gets the understanding and support she needs to be successful at work. If your child tells her employer about her additional needs, she’ll be able to ask for these adjustments.
Examples of common adjustments include:
- disability awareness training for managers and key colleagues
- a buddy or mentor for additional support
- flexible working arrangements like the option to work from home, flexible working hours to start earlier or finish later, or reduced work hours
- assistive technology like speech to text software, screen readers or digital recorders
- communication options to help your child learn new tasks, processes and information – this might include written, visual, verbal and practical forms of communication
- adjustments to the physical environment like changing the lighting, modifying the desk, providing a quiet place, or allowing noise-cancelling headphones
- support with setting up schedules and routines, checklists or to-do lists
- help with breaking down large projects into smaller tasks.
National Disability Insurance Scheme and employment
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds reasonable and necessary supports to help people with disability reach goals throughout life, including employment goals.
- personal care at work, like assistance with meals
- aids and equipment, like wheelchairs
- transition-to-work supports that employers can’t reasonably provide, like training relating to travel to and from work
- individual employment support for people who probably won’t be eligible for Disability Employment Services (DES)
- supports for people with additional needs to work when they’re otherwise unlikely to find ongoing work.
The NDIS also might also fund:
- on-the-job support in the workplace
- employment-related assessment and counselling
- individual and group employment support
- School Leavers Employment Supports (SLES).