In Australia, 18.5% of the population has some form of disability. That is more than 4 million people. People with disability often face difficulties in gaining employment. It is important that such a large part of the population is allowed access to gainful employment and their right to make a living is protected.
Businesses that actively employ people with disability open themselves up to a bigger talent pool which enables them to hire the best person for the job. Moreover, if an existing employee acquire a disability, the organization can retain them. This has a major positive influence on employee loyalty and productivity. In addition to this, it also boosts the moral of the workplace. Organizations and companies vastly improve their image by inclusive hiring practices. It increases customer loyalty and the company can avoid litigation for unlawful discrimination. Despite these obvious advantages, companies hesitate in hiring people with disability. One of the possible reasons for this initial hesitation is the overhead cost. Companies must make special accommodations for hiring people with disability. While this may seem daunting, in the long run, this initial investment pays off, for the reasons stated above.
If you are a company that is seeking to employ people with disability, then you can take advantage of government funding to support you in your cause. There are a host of programs and initiatives being run by the government that your company could benefit from. In 2019, for example, the Australian government had announced $100 million in funding for increasing employment opportunities for people with disability. The aim of this funding was to ensure complete integration of Australia’s population, despite their disability
. This funding was owed to the Information, Linkages, and Capacity Building (ILC) program of the Australian government. A program started with the desire of building an inclusive society.
Grants Assist is an Australian company that specializes in securing government funding for its clients. The agents and advisors at Grants Assist will be able to advise you in this regard. They will help you select the right government funding program. Organize your documents and fill in the application form. Prepare you for interviews and guide you through the multiple selection processes that most funding programs have. Securing government funding can be very competitive because of the high number of applicants for each grant. It is, therefore, advised that professional help is sought so that you do not have to worry about securing funding and can focus your attention on your business. In this article, we will be going through some of the grants that are available for organizations seeking to employ people with disability.
Employment Assistance Fund
This fund addresses the concern most businesses have when hiring people with disabilities – costs associated to modification of workspace. Businesses can apply for this grant to secure funding for the purchase of equipment needed to make their workspace accessible. This assistance is also extended to people who have a disability and are running their own business. Under this fund, businesses and individuals can secure funding for:
- Costs associated with workplace accessibility modifications
- Special equipment
- Upgrades to work vehicles
- Communication and information devices
- Disability awareness training
- Interpreters for Auslan (Australian sign language)
Under this program, hiring agencies can also apply for reimbursement of Auslan interpreters, if an interpreter had to be hired for a job interview.
To be eligible for this grant, the individual who is being hired must meet the following criteria:
- A permanent resident of Australia
- The job must be for a period of 13 weeks or more
- The person must be working for at least 8 hours per week or 20 hours per week if they are self-employed
- It is certain that the person would suffer from the disability for at least two years
People who can apply for this grant include:
- a disabled employee themselves
- a business employing disable persons
- a disabled person is self-employed
- a job seeker in need of Auslan Level 2 assistance
- a job seeker in need of technological assistance/special equipment
- disability employment services or a community development provider
Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support (DAAWS)
DAAWS is a program that is aimed at aiding training centers or employers who want to assist apprentices with a disability, such as providing the necessary training that enables them to fully participate in their careers. Under this program, trainees and apprentices would be able to access support that includes mentoring, tutoring, Auslan interpreting, or note taking. Businesses that have employed an apprentice with a disability would be able to obtain financial assistance, should the apprenticed be found to be needing support.
The Wage Subsidy program is another initiative that the government is providing to businesses to motivate them to hire people with disability. Under this program, employers would be provided assistance in covering the cost of paying wages of an employee with a disability for the first few months of their employment. Employers can take advantage of wage subsidies through a variety of programs, these include:
- Wage Subsidy Scheme – job seekers would have to be registered with a Disability Employment Services Provider
- Wage Connect subsidies – for businesses that are going to employ people that are registered with the Australian Government employment service and have been unemployed for a long term
Disability Support Pension (DSP)
Those people that are suffering from a permanent or partial disability that has completely rendered them incapable of working can apply for support under the Disability Support Pension. This program is also available to those people that are currently suffering from a psychiatric illness. Applicants would, however, have to be in compliance with the medical and non-medical eligibility criteria. Factors that would determine the rate of the pension of the applicant include, their age, extent of disability, and whether it is a major or minor disability.
Disability Employment Services (DES)
This program has been designed to make it easier for people with disability to enter the job market. They DES helps job seekers by helping build their resume and providing guidance and training. Certain eligible candidates would also be able to secure funds for either setting up their business or improving an existing one.