Workplace Adjustments Procedure

Procedure overview

1 Purpose

To detail the process for all current and prospective Employees of the University to request Workplace Adjustments.

2 Scope

This Procedure applies to all current and prospective Employees who require adjustments to the workplace or work duties due to disability (visible or non-visible), illness or injury.

This Procedure applies to all areas of disability Discrimination as identified under the relevant Acts.

3 Procedure Overview

This Procedure outlines the University's commitment to providing an inclusive, accessible and safe work environment free from Discrimination, Workplace Bullying and Harassment and which supports and enables an individual's human rights. To enable current and prospective Employees to safely and equitably participate in all aspects of recruitment, selection, and employment, the University seeks to provide Workplace Adjustments.

4 Procedures

4.1 Eligibility for Workplace Adjustments

Under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992), the University is required to make Workplace Adjustments to accommodate disability, illness or injury, unless making the Workplace Adjustments would impose unjustifiable hardship on a current or prospective Employee, stakeholder or the University. Workplace Adjustments also protect an individual's fundamental human rights under the Queensland Human Rights Act (2019).

All requests for Workplace Adjustments are assessed on a case-by-case scenario. Reasons for a request may include, but are not limited to:

  • physical impairment;
  • medical conditions;
  • intellectual disability;
  • excessive stress;
  • mental illness;
  • learning disabilities;
  • broken bone(s);
  • neurological condition(s);
  • vision impairment;
  • hearing impairment; and
  • mobility impairment.

Workplace Adjustments may be required when a person has:

  • an established condition or disability;
  • an acquired condition or disability, whether temporary or permanent; and/or
  • a non-work related injury or illness of a temporary or permanent nature.

Workplace Adjustments may be temporary or permanent and may include:

  • physical changes to the work environment including workstation or building access modifications;
  • modifications to equipment or the supply of specialised equipment, furniture or work related aids;
  • flexible working arrangements including (but not limited to) changes to start/finish times and more frequent breaks, in line with the USQ Enterprise Agreement or individual employment agreement.
  • technological provisions including (but not limited to) speech recognition and/or screen-reading software;
  • changes to job design, or work practices;
  • provision of training or other assistance;
  • changes to supervision and/or communication styles;
  • provision of Auslan interpreters;
  • permission for seeing-eye dogs;
  • additional psychological support;
  • adjustments to methods used for assessment and selection.

Where a flexible working arrangement is required to accommodate a disability, illness or injury, please also refer to the Flexible Working Arrangements Procedure.

4.2 Requesting Workplace Adjustments

Opportunities for enquiring about and/or requesting Workplace Adjustments can happen at any time during the Employee's life cycle. They may occur:

  • during the selection/interview process;
  • as part of the offer of appointment;
  • at induction;
  • when planning for organisational change;
  • in developing workload agreements; or
  • at any other time during employment with the University.

Requests may be made by the individual seeking the Workplace Adjustment or, with their consent, by their Supervisor. This can be done via the Request for a Workplace Adjustments Form.

A request from an existing Employee would normally be made through their Supervisor. Alternatively, an Employee may prefer to seek advice or discuss Workplace Adjustment issues initially with Human Resources.

The need for Workplace Adjustments for a prospective Employee may be identified during offer of appointment and discussed with Human Resources and/or the appointee's Supervisor.

A request by a prospective Employee for Workplace Adjustments related to interview for a vacant position is managed by Human Resources as part of the recruitment process.

The USQ Workplace Adjustments Process Flowchart provides a guide to the steps and consultation that are required by Supervisors and other stakeholders.

4.3 Sharing Information

An Employee or prospective Employee has no general obligation to share disability or personal medical information unless it is likely to affect their ability to fulfil the essential requirements of their position. However, if a Workplace Adjustment is requested, information about the disability or medical condition may be required.

All disclosures will be treated in accordance with the University's Privacy Policy. At all times those responsible for assessing the Workplace Adjustments will respect the privacy of the Employee.

Information about the Employee's disability or medical condition will only be sought in so far as it relates to the Workplace Adjustments request. It is the responsibility of Supervisors to ensure a safe, confidential and inclusive work environment that supports Employees to request Workplace Adjustments and confidently share personal information.

Disability information will only be shared with a third party with the consent of the Employee with disability. De-identified diversity data will only be used to report and inform future USQ strategies and initiatives to better support the inclusion of all current and prospective Employees.

4.4 Assessing requests for Workplace Adjustments

Upon receipt of a request form, the responsible Supervisor will consult with Human Resources and the Employee on the following matters:

  • whether the Employee's situation is likely to change over time;
  • what specific Workplace Adjustments, if any, have been suggested by the Employee; and
  • whether further specialist evaluation is required to identify and implement appropriate Workplace Adjustments.

Depending on the nature of the Workplace Adjustments requested, the Employee may be required to provide documentation and recommendations on appropriate Workplace Adjustments. Where further evaluation is required, additional information may be sourced from the following (as appropriate, and with the consent of the Employee):

  • a medical practitioner;
  • an occupational therapist or other allied health provider;
  • a relevant Government support agency;
  • a disability service provider.

A Workplace Adjustments request that is not approved will, in the first instance, be advised verbally to the current or prospective Employee by their recruitment manager or Supervisor. The recruitment manager or Supervisor will discuss the reasons why the Workplace Adjustments request was not approved, and provide written confirmation of their Decision. A current or prospective Employee who is not satisfied with the Decision and explanation can refer the matter to Human Resources for review.

4.5 Administration of Workplace Adjustments

4.5.1 Workplace Adjustments Passport and File

After initial consultation, all completed request forms are to be forwarded to Human Resources for assessment and endorsement, and financial approval (if required).

All requests will be stored confidentially within Human resources and will only be accessible by the Employee, the relevant case manager and/or current/future Supervisor.

Once assessment and approval has finalised, a Workplace Adjustments Passport will be generated documenting and summarising the agreed Workplace Adjustments. A copy will be held by the Employee as well as on the Workplace Adjustments File. The Supervisor will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Workplace Adjustments, including notifying relevant stakeholders of the requirements.

The Workplace Adjustments Passport Guidelines provide further information.

4.5.2 Job Access

Job Access is the national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers. Job Access can provide financial support through the Employment Assistance Fund if an Employee needs major changes to the workplace that require a specialist assessment.

If requests for Workplace Adjustments fall under the criteria for reimbursement under Job Access, Human Resources will assist the relevant Supervisor with the application process. Where relevant and appropriate, the University will source assistance from Job Access to conduct a Workplace Modifications Assessment.

Job Access is also available to assess any additional psychological Workplace Adjustments or support outside of, or in addition to, the current University Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

4.5.3 Recovering at work program

Where the Workplace Adjustments involve recovery at work due to injury or an extended absence from work, an appropriate return to work plan will be designed. In conjunction with the Supervisor, return to work will be administered under normal case management procedures (refer USQ Rehabilitation and Workers Compensation Injury Procedure).

4.5.4 Infrastructure

Where alterations are required to buildings or facilities, the relevant Supervisor will be contacted by Facilities Management. A record of alterations or plans in progress should be held on the Workplace Adjustments Passport.

4.6 Funding

Where possible, funding for Workplace Adjustments will be sought through available external funding sources. Otherwise, the costs of implementing a Workplace Adjustments will be funded by the University.

The University will not fund the cost of personal aids that are required by the Employee for private purposes, or the cost of setting up a home office when the Workplace Adjustments include a period of working from home. The University will not pay the cost of treatment for a temporary or permanent condition or disability, except in the context of a compensable injury. Employees are encouraged to use the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to support all personal circumstances outside of this Procedure. Additional psychological support requests can be applied for, assessed, and if approved, funded through Job Access.

4.7 Monitoring

Workplace Adjustments will be monitored according to an agreed schedule (if applicable). In all cases Human Resources will conduct a follow-up review with the Employee and Supervisor within one month from the date when the Workplace Adjustments process was completed. The results of this action should be documented in the Workplace Adjustments Passport.

Workplace Adjustments should be reviewed annually by the Employee and their Supervisor. An Employee may also request a review and amendment of their Workplace Adjustments at any time as a result of any changes related to their situation.

Human Resources has responsibility for evaluating, monitoring and reporting on Workplace Adjustment procedures and associated funding, and consulting with relevant stakeholders on any recommended changes.

4.8 Complaints

For all Complaints and Grievances processes refer to the relevant policies and procedures.

5 Delegated responsibilities

Approver

Level of Delegation

Executive Director (Human Resources)

Approval of the use of central University fund for Workplace Adjustments.

6 References

Nil.

7 Schedules

This procedure must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.

8 Procedure Information

Accountable Officer

Executive Director (Human Resources)

Responsible Officer

Executive Director (Human Resources)

Policy Type

University Procedure

Policy Suite

Employee Equity and Diversity Policy

Subordinate Schedules

Approved Date

25/6/2020

Effective Date

25/6/2020

Review Date

25/6/2023

Relevant Legislation

Anti-Discrimination Act 1991

Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld)

Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987

Fair Work Act 2009

Human Rights Act 2019

USQ Enterprise Agreement

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld)

Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003

Related Policies

Code of Conduct Policy

Employee Complaints and Grievances Policy

Employee Equity and Diversity Policy

Privacy Policy

Recruitment, Selection and Appointment Policy

Work Health and Safety Policy

Related Procedures

Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Complaints against Employees Procedure

Employee Health and Wellbeing Procedure

Flexible Working Arrangements Procedure

Prevention of Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Procedure

Rehabilitation and Workers' Compensation Procedure

Working from Another Location Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

Australian Human Rights Commission

Human Resources Website

Job Access - Being Flexible and Making Adjustments

USQ Workplace Adjustments Passport Guidelines

USQ Workplace Adjustments Process Flowchart

USQ Workplace Adjustments Request Form

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

Complaint

A Complaint is an “expression of dissatisfaction made to or about the University, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required”....moreA Complaint is an “expression of dissatisfaction made to or about the University, related to its products, services, staff or the handling of a complaint, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required”.

Decision

A determination made by an Employee, contractor or other authorised delegate in the course of their duties on behalf of the University....moreA determination made by an Employee, contractor or other authorised delegate in the course of their duties on behalf of the University.

Delegate (noun)

Delegate (noun) means the officer, Employee or committee of the University to whom, or to which, a delegation of authority has been made under this Policy....moreDelegate (noun) means the officer, Employee or committee of the University to whom, or to which, a delegation of authority has been made under this Policy.

Discrimination

Occurs when a person or a group of people are treated less favourably than another person or group because of race, colour, national or ethnic origin; gender or marital status; disability; religion or political beliefs; sexual preference; or some other central characteristic. Discrimination may occur when a person is denied the opportunity to participate freely and fully in normal day-...moreOccurs when a person or a group of people are treated less favourably than another person or group because of race, colour, national or ethnic origin; gender or marital status; disability; religion or political beliefs; sexual preference; or some other central characteristic. Discrimination may occur when a person is denied the opportunity to participate freely and fully in normal day-to-day activities, for example being harassed in the workplace or being denied entry to public places and other facilities.

Employee

A person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University....moreA person employed by the University and whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement and includes persons employed on a continuing, fixed term or casual basis. Employees also include senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University.

Grievance

Typically defined as a concern or Complaint raised by an Employee against a process, action, omission or Decision within the responsibility and control of the University which relates to employment or related internal human resources matters, which has or is likely to have an unreasonable negative impact on the ability of an Employee to undertake their duties, or similar impact on thei...moreTypically defined as a concern or Complaint raised by an Employee against a process, action, omission or Decision within the responsibility and control of the University which relates to employment or related internal human resources matters, which has or is likely to have an unreasonable negative impact on the ability of an Employee to undertake their duties, or similar impact on their career.

Harassment

Occurs when a person is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex; disability; sexual preference; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation. Harassment may include behaviour, comments or images which a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, int...moreOccurs when a person is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex; disability; sexual preference; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation. Harassment may include behaviour, comments or images which a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Procedure

An operational instruction that sets out the process to operationalise a Policy....moreAn operational instruction that sets out the process to operationalise a Policy.

University

The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.

Workplace Bullying and Harassment

Workplace Bullying and Harassment, under the Fair Work Act 2009, occurs where an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards an Employee or group of Employees at work, and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety. Within this definition: Repeated Behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can range in behaviours over time. Unre...moreWorkplace Bullying and Harassment, under the Fair Work Act 2009, occurs where an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards an Employee or group of Employees at work, and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety. Within this definition: Repeated Behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can range in behaviours over time. Unreasonable Behaviour is behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard to the circumstances, may see as unreasonable. This may include but is not limited to behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening. A Risk to Health and Safety means the possibility of danger to health and safety, and is not confined to actual danger to health and safety

Definitions that relate to this procedure only

Supervisor

Any person responsible for leading the activities of others. In the context of this procedure, a Supervisor includes Employees at any classification level or title who have responsibilities for leading, managing or supervising work teams and/or individual Employees.

Workplace Adjustments

A change to a work process, practice, procedure or environment that enables a current or prospective Employee with disability, illness or injury to perform the essential requirement/s of the job.

Keywords

Record No

19/1276PL

Complying with the law and observing Policy and Procedure is a condition of working and/or studying at the University.

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