Willing to Work - Older Australians and Australians with a Disability

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This week the Australian Human Rights Commission released the results of its landmark study entitled "Willing to Work: National inquiry into employment discrimination against older Australians and Australians with disability".  

The report found that:

  • People who lose their jobs in their 50s may live up to another forty years without paid employment
  • People with disability are more likely to be unemployed than people without disability and to have longer periods of unemployment
  • People who are willing to work but are denied the opportunity are also denied the personal and social benefits of dignity, independence, a sense of purpose and the social connectedness that work brings  and results in a massive waste of human capital and productivity. It drives increases in public expenditure that in the long term are not sustainable
  • Highly skilled individuals are being shut out of work because of underlying assumptions, stereotypes or myths associated with their age or their disability.

Last July DCA sought written contributions from members to assist with the preparation of our submission to the inquiry.  We  thank and congratulate DCA members that provided good practice case studies to feature in our submission, including:

  • People With Disability at ANZ
  • People With Disability at Uber
  • Older Workers & MyFuture at NAB
  • Mercy Health
  • People With Disability at Australia Post.

We also thank those DCA members who attended the consultative roundtable discussion in October 2015 with the Hon. Susan Ryan AO, Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, who led the inquiry.

The final report contains 54 recommendations.  Some of the strategies for employers proposed by the Commission to increase workforce participation of people with disability and older people include:

  • Adopting a combination of strategies rather than a single approach
  • Organisational leadership involving senior role models
  • Setting voluntary targets and making this information public
  • Improving recruitment practices so they are more inclusive and do not intentionally or unintentionally exclude older people and people with disability
  • Providing supports to employees who are older or who have a disability
  • Developing partnerships with relevant organisations to facilitate cultural change in the workplace and employment opportunities for older people and people with disability
  • Putting in place monitoring and accountability measures, such as workforce data collection, analysis and planning
  • Working with, or encouraging the supply chain to recruit and retain older workers and workers with disability, and adopt inclusive practices.

DCA will shortly be holding an event for members to explore the report findings and recommendations in more detail.