Work

Women with disability have the right to work in any area, at any level and to be paid fairly for the work they do.

You can learn more about your rights at work on this page.

Watch the Fair Work video (external website) about workplace rights:

Tip: Click the subtitles button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to turn closed captions on and off.

Applying for a Job

If you are looking for work, there are three things that you will need to prepare:

1. A resume

Your resume should have your contact details and a summary of your work experience and education. You should also include the skills and knowledge you have learnt through hobbies, volunteering and caring for others. Work experience is not limited to paid employment.    

A resume is usually no more than 3 pages long depending on the job you are applying for. You can use dot points and headings to make your resume easier to read. You do not need to provide personal information on your resume such as your gender, age, disability or ethnicity.

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2. A list of referees

When you apply for a job you should have at least two referees who can talk about your skills and experience. A referee is usually someone you have worked with before, but they can also be a friend who understands your professional capacity, a support worker or someone you volunteer with.


3. A cover letter

Most job applications require you to include a cover letter. A cover letter should clearly state why you want the job. Your cover letter should always be specific to each job that you apply for, but it helps to write a short sample one so that you have something to start with each time you apply for a job.

Note: When you apply for a job you do not need to disclose your disability in your application or when you attend a job interview unless the disability will impact on your ability to do the job. You can do this individually with your boss or with the human resources manager at your work.

Tip: You can download our Cover Letter and Resume template to help you get started!


Support to find a job


JobAccess 

JobAccess is the national website for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers.

JobAccess can link you with Disability Employment Service (DES) providers that help people with disability, injuries and health conditions to get ready to look for a job, find a job and keep a job.

Learn more on the Job Access website (external link).


JobActive

JobActive helps all Australians – including those with disability - to find a job. If you looking for a job, the JobActive website has information and tips to help you get started, as well as tools to help you find a suitable job in your area.

Learn more on the JobActive website (external link).

Rights at work

In Australia, all employees have rights that cannot be taken away. These include:

  • the right to be paid fairly for the work you do - the minimum wages you can be paid are stated in the 'award' for the area you work in. You can find out what your award is on the Fair Work website (external link)
  • the right to take leave when you are sick, need to care for a family member, have a baby, or take holidays
  • the right to take breaks during work hours
  • the right to any supports you need to do the job. These are called reasonable accommodations.
Note: Your specific conditions as an employee will depend on the type of employment you are in and where you work. You can find out more about your rights at work on the Fair Work website (external link).


Disclosing disability

Many people who have a disability are not sure whether to tell their employer about their disability.

There is no legal requirement for a person with a disability to disclose information about their disability unless it is likely to affect their ability to do the job and to be safe at work.

However, it can be helpful to talk to your employer about your disability, and what can be done to make sure your disability is considered in the workplace. This may include what you need people to do, say or just be aware of. It can also be helpful if you are asking for reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations

Reasonable accommodations may include things like:

  • flexible work hours to go to appointments or look after family
  • paid leave when you are sick, if you have experienced discrimination or violence, or someone close to you dies (also referred to as 'sorry business')
  • assistive technology devices like screen readers, dictation systems or hearing aids
  • extra time to read and/or process information
  • movable desks and ergonomic chairs
  • ramps on work sites
  • access to accessible toilets and lifts
  • an on the job support worker.
Tip: You can learn more about reasonable accommodations on the Australian Network on Disability website (external link).


Unjustifiable hardship

If you have a disability and need support at work, you have the right to ask your employer for reasonable accommodations. However, employers do not have to make changes in a workplace if it would cause significant hardship to their business. For example, a small business would not have to alter a work vehicle for a disabled worker if the cost was too high.

Government support

In Australia, there are government support programs that help to pay for the supports or adaptions you need at work. These programs can provide funds to you or directly to your employer, depending on the situation.

Employment Assistance Fund (EAF)

JobAccess provides funding through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) to cover the costs of making workplace changes. This can include buying equipment, modifications or accessing services for people with disability.

Learn more on the Employment Assistance Fund website (external link).

National Disability Insurance Scheme

If you are an eligible National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, the NDIS can also help to pay for things that you need at work. Funding may be provided to your employer or directly to you, depending on your requirements.

Learn more about the NDIS and employment support on the NDIS website (external link).

Workplace Discrimination

It is never OK for an employer or someone you work with to treat you badly because of your disability, gender, sexuality, or anything else about you that you cannot change.

If someone does not give you a job because you have a disability, or refuses to allow you to have the support you need at work, this may be considered a form of disability discrimination.

Tip: You can learn more about workplace discrimination on the Disability and Discrimination page.
Photo of a woman looking out a window drinking coffee out of a take away cup.

Workers unions

By law, any worker is allowed to join a trade union. A trade union is an organisation that advocates for your rights at work and stands up for you if you are treated unfairly by your employer.

A union can argue on your behalf for fair wages, accessible and family friendly work practices, and a safe work environment.

There are currently almost 100 unions in Australia. The union you can join depends on what sort of work you do and where your workplace is.

Tip: You can find the union that is right for you on the Australian Unions website (external link).

Important Resources

Publications
WWDA Position Statement 3: The Right to Participation
Information from WWDA on the right of all women and girls with disability to take part in all areas of life.
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Guides
WWDA Easy English Book: Your Rights at Work
Easy English book about your rights to and at work.
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External website
Fair Work: Employee Entitlements
A website listing rules about what employees are entitled to at work, such as how many hours they work and how often they have a break.
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Guides
Our Site Cover Letter and Resume Template
A template to help you write your a cover letter and resume for job applications.
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Fair Work: National Employment Standards (NES)
The National Employment Standards (NES) are 10 minimum employment entitlements that have to be provided to all employees.
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External website
Australian Human Rights Commission: Adjustments in the Workplace for People with Disabilities
A quick guide to the supports and adjustments you can ask for at work.
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Guides
Zoom Meetings
Zoom is a program that allows you to run or join a meeting online. This document explains how to download Zoom, create an account, host a meeting and join a meeting.
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Independent Learning Centres: Using Assistive Technology
A website that explains what assistive technology is and how it can be helpful.
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Australian Human Rights Commission: Work Out Your Rights - Information for Employees
This web page has information for employees about rights at work.
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Australian Network on Disability: Workplace Adjustments
This web page provides information for people with disability and employers about workplace adjustments.
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Australian Government: Employment Assistance Fund (EAF)
The Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) can help people with disability and employers to cover the costs of making workplace changes.
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Where to next:

External website
Australian Government Job Access
Get help with finding work, changing jobs and getting support at work.
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Australian Government: Job Active
This website can help you to find a job that is right for you!
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External website
Australian Human Rights Commission: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Australians with Disability (2016)
A website on the 'Willing to Work' Report with summaries and fact sheets.
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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): Employment
Find out about support you can get at work through the NDIS.
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Australian Unions
A website that can help you to work out which union is right for you.
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External website
Working in Australia on a VISA
Learn about your rights to work and your rights at work if you are on a VISA.
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Videos
Fair Work Australia: YouTube Channel
A series of short films about your rights at work, including Auslan interpreted videos.
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