Making reasonable accommodations

Workbridge is the largest New Zealand-owned employment service for people with a disability or health condition.

The term ‘reasonable accommodations’ describes the changes you can make to the working environment, work practices, or elements of the job to enable a disabled person to work for you. This section includes guidance on making accommodations for people with different types of disabilities, injury and illness.

Making reasonable accommodations helps disabled people make a productive, valuable contribution to your business.

Every employee is an individual. Successful managers will get the best from people, if they are able to identify what will help employees do the best job possible, whether the person has a disability or not. Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations by the Human Rights Act 1993. In many cases there will be support available to help you make accommodations through the government Job Support Fund which is administered by Workbridge.

There are a wide range of conditions and impairments which are covered by the term ‘disability’. Some of these are listed below. However, while people with the same impairment will experience some things in common, the effect of a disability at work can be very different from person to person. Even two people with the same condition, doing the same job, may find different accommodations and adjustments at work helpful.

No matter what the disability, it is useful to:

Discuss accommodations with the employee – The key to making successful accommodations at work is to talk with the person about what they would find useful to help them perform their job well. They may have long experience in managing their condition – don’t try and guess what might help – ask!

Get expert advice – Workbridge, as well as other organisations which represent people with different disabilities can provide expert advice on a range of accommodations. There are contact details for a number of organisations listed on these pages.

Plan ahead – When a new employee starts or an employee’s job changes, planning ahead will help avoid disruption and ensure good productivity.

Take reasonable action – Employers are only required to put in place accommodations which are reasonable. Most accommodations are low or no cost and support is available in many cases where there are associated costs.

Get support – For example, accessing the Job Support Fund which covers the additional costs a person has as a direct consequence of their disability when undertaking the same job as a person without a disability.

Included below are some examples of the types of accommodations which can be useful for people with a range of disabilities in the following situations:

In the Disability Information content of these pages, there are short descriptions and useful website links for the following: