Human Resources

UWA staff with disabilities

Further information

Employees eligible for supported wages

Contact us

All queries should be directed to the Equity and Diversity Office.

The University is committed to equal opportunity in recruiting and maintaining employment for people with disabilities.

  1. Policy
  2. Procedures - recruitment
  3. Workplace support and modifications
  4. Career development and promotion
  5. Funding of support services and workplace modifications
  6. Confidentiality
  7. Grievances


The UWA Policy on Disability and Medical Conditions was updated in 2013. The policy outlines the University?s obligations under the  Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Disability Standards for Education, Equal Opportunity Act 1984, and Disabilities Services Act 1992.

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Procedures - recruitment

These procedures are provided to maintain equitable work practices and to remove any discriminatory barriers facing people with disabilities at UWA. They cover all types of disabilities, including physical disabilities, emotional disabilities, and chronic health conditions, as set out under the UWA Disabilities Policy and the Disability Discrimination Act (1992). These procedures refer to the areas of recruitment and selection, workplace support, career development and grievances.

It is the responsibility of school supervisors and managers to be aware of the legislation and policies relating to employment and people with disabilities. Issues arising in this area should be dealt with by the relevant school supervisor or manager, using the following guidelines and assistance available through Human Resources.

"The University will not require a prospective employee or an employee to provide information related to disability, if the purpose of the request is to unlawfully discriminate against the employee, or if employees who do not have disability would not be required to provide the information in circumstances that are not materially different.

The University may require information relevant to disability to determine any reasonable adjustments, or to determine the employee?s or prospective employee?s ability to perform the inherent requirements of the position."

UWA Policy on Disability and Medical Conditions (2013)

All staff have a responsibility to ensure that people with disabilities have equitable access to employment. Chairs of selection panels have particular responsibilities, these include:
  • all job descriptions should be examined to remove any requirements which are not essential or desirable to job performance
  • all job descriptions should be examined to remove any requirements which are not essential or desirable to job performance
  • members of selection panels should receive training and/or information on awareness of relevant disability issues relating to job selection and application processes
  • application and selection procedures are to accommodate special needs relating to an applicant?s disabilities
  • where required, information about the range of facilities available to assist people with disabilities in the workplace can be obtained from the UWA Disabilities Officers

Plans and strategies

To support the University?s commitment to equity in employment, a Workforce Diversity Strategy has been developed.

The plan seeks to contribute to the attainment of excellence through encouraging workforce diversity. It contains a range of strategies and options which aim to increase the participation of people with disabilities in employment.

Schools wishing to accept these employment options should contact the UWA Diversity Officers.

The UWA Disability Action Plan also provides a range of objectives and strategies aimed at enhancing equity and access for staff and students with disabilities in all areas of University life:

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Workplace support and modifications

`Where an employee discloses a disability, the University priority is to maintain the employee in their current position and work area and to provide reasonable adjustments wherever possible'. .

UWA Policy on Disability and Medical Conditions

The purpose of these procedures is to provide a framework to address issues associated with employment of current or prospective UWA staff who have non-work related disability, injury or illness that may impact on their ability to perform the full range of duties associated with their job.

The aim is for an equitable, prompt response, which fully draws on the expertise available both within and outside the University to assist the member of staff and the work area. Generally, the relevant supervisor should first be made aware of the situation, so that appropriate steps are taken to assist the employee.

An employee or supervisor may contact the Manager, Equity and Diversity or an Equity and Diversity Adviser, to advise of a situation where assistance is required. The Manager, Equity and Diversity or Equity and Diversity Adviser will arrange a meeting with the employee and/or supervisor concerned, to identify issues and discuss options.

In consultation with the employee, the most suitable approach to providing support and assistance will be discussed. This may involve seeking further information and liaising with specialist staff and agencies as required, including:

  • specialist disability organisations
  • UWA Disabilities Officers
  • UWA Occupational Therapist
  • UWA Human Resources Officers (fSenior Employee Relations Officers, Superannuation Officer)
  • treating GP/specialist (only with written permission and where essential for dealing with the matter)

Comprehensive information will be sought so that all reasonable steps can be taken to make changes in the workplace to enhance the employee?s capacity to do the job. Changes may involve re-design of job duties, modifying working time arrangements and work organisation in consultation with the supervisor and other employees in the area.

The priority will be to maintain the employee in their current position and work area where possible. An on-site work assessment by an occupational therapist may be undertaken to clearly define any areas of difficulty and identify recommendations to assist in maintaining the employee at work, including provision of equipment and any workplace modifications. Work options may include:

  • normal duties on a full or part-time basis
  • modified duties (full or part-time)
  • modified work processes (for example, alternative ways of accomplishing tasks or objectives; or exchanging some duties between a person with a disability and other staff)
  • duties assisting others
  • different duties in the same or different area

Consultation with Human Rousources is required in circumstances where significant changes are made to the duties to be undertaken, as these may affect the employee?s contract of employment.

If an employee is unable to perform the inherent requirements of their position, and wish to pursue an alternative position within the University, assistance may be provided.

The Human Resource Adviser can provide information on all internal and external vacancies within the University. In liaison with the occupational therapist, suitable vacancies may be identified.

Where a suitable position arises, a work trial period may be negotiated with the relevant work area, prior to advertisement. Any training or workplace modifications required will also be considered for placements.

If the work trial is deemed to be successful, negotiations may occur for the transfer of the employee to the new position.

At any stage of the process, if the employee is a UniSuper Defined Benefit Plan/Investment Choice Plan member and wishes to cease work completely due to incapacity, an application for the UniSuper Defined Benefit Plan/Investment Choice Plan Temporary Incapacity Benefits may be made via the Superannuation Officer. (Note: a qualifying period applies before benefits may commence).

Cessation of employment can only be considered in circumstances where it can be clearly demonstrated that all avenues have been exhausted and the person is unable to perform the inherent requirements of the job. In any such circumstances the involvement of the Director, Human Resources and the Manager Equity and Diversity is required. It should be noted that it is unlawful to discriminate in employment on the ground of a person?s disability.

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Career development and promotion

Enquiries about support for career development and promotion should be directed to OSDS or to the Equity and Diversity Office.

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Funding of support services and workplace modifications

Wherever possible, external sources of funding for specialist equipment and workplace modifications will be explored. Budgetary constraints at the local level must not preclude reasonable adjustments being provided.

The School/Faculty is responsible for basic equipment and training provision afforded to any staff member, such as suitable work space, desk, chair and computer induction programs and the like. In addition, wherever possible, funding available by the relevant Faculty/School for any workplace modifications and support will also be explored.

Generally, the school where the employee is employed is responsible for funding the salary of the staff member, including any work trial placements in other schools. This, however. will be negotiated in each case depending on the circumstances. If the employee successfully obtains a paid position in another school, this obligation then ceases.

Under the UWA General Staff Agreement, Employees Eligible for Supported Salary may be applicable to employees who have been assessed on their productive capacity and are paid the applicable percentage of the minimum rate of pay.

Where external and School/Faculty sources of funding are not secured, application may be made through the Director, Human Resources to the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor seeking funding support. Such proposals may include funding for specific equipment, salary assistance, training or services required by the staff member in order to carry out their work effectively. This funding is limited and each case will be assessed individually.

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Employees are expected to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of information regarding disability or medical conditions provided by students, employees or visitors, except where the University?s duty of care takes priority, or where adjustments are requested and information related to functional impact will be shared.

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Any complaints of discrimination and harassment are dealt with under the University?s Policy and procedures for dealing with Equity and Diversity enquiries and grievances.

Initial enquiries about disability discrimination or harassment should be made to one of UWA's Equity and Diversity Advisers. All approaches to an Equity and Diversity Adviser will be treated in confidence.

The University?s Employee Assistance Program is available to all employees for counselling support and advice.

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Last updated:
Wednesday, 13 July, 2016 3:46 PM