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Grants and support for hiring disabled staff

Most people with a disability or health condition don’t need anything extra to do their jobs. For those who do, grants and services can help employers cater for their needs.

Finding and keeping skilled staff can be a challenge for many small businesses. But if you exclude disabled people when hiring, you are turning your back on a wealth of experience.

Employing a person with a disability is much like taking on any new member of staff. Where there are differences, help is at hand.

One in four New Zealanders is in some way disabled - that's a huge talent pool

One in four New Zealanders is in some way disabled - that's a huge talent pool

How to find out what's needed

1. Ask the person themselves

If you’re considering a candidate with a disability — whether physical, mental, a learning difficulty or health condition — speak to them directly about anything extra they need. They’re best placed to tell you how to manage their disability and may already know avenues for financial and practical help.

2. Employer Advice Line

This confidential, free service is a good source of advice about managing and supporting workers with disabilities or health conditions. It can also help with where to go for specific types of help. It’s funded by the Ministry of Social Development.

Advisors can help with wide-ranging topics like:

  • Things to think about when an employee returns to work after surgery, eg adapting their workstation, flexible work hours.
  • Supporting a new employee with a mental health condition, eg asking if they’re happy to share signs and triggers, or giving them time off for appointments.
  • Helping an employee with a learning disability pick up new tasks, eg giving information in a different format, buddying them with another employee.
Contacts address book

0800 805 405 — Employer Advice line, 8.30am-5pm Mon to Fri

3. Disability Confident New Zealand

This Ministry of Social Development resource gives practical advice on the recruitment, induction, retention and development of disabled staff.

It points you to organisations, eg Workbridge, Employment NZ and ACC, that can help both financially and practically. This might be through grants for installing a wheelchair ramp, or advice on day-to-day support for a worker with a disability.

Disability Confident NZ (external link) — Ministry of Social Development

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