How disabled workers can help your business

Hiring people with disabilities is easier than you might think and comes with a range of benefits for your business. Here are tips and information to help you grow more confident about hiring a diverse range of people. 

Many employers feel they don’t know enough about hiring disabled workers, so put it in the “too hard” basket. The government’s Disability Confident campaign aims to correct that by:

  • highlighting the benefits of having workers with disabilities
  • making it easy to get practical information on hiring and retaining disabled employees.


“We want employers to know there is a range of existing support and initiatives available to help them,” says Disabilities Issues Minister Nicky Wagner.


“It’s not just an opportunity for employers to tap into talented staff, it also gives employees more confidence and economic independence.”

Benefits for your business

There are many reasons to hire disabled people, including:

  • It gives you a larger pool of talent to draw from — one in four New Zealanders has some form of disability.
  • Workers with disabilities take fewer sick days.
  • There’s no difference in performance from able-bodied workers once disabled workers are in the right job.
  • It’s easy to accommodate staff with disabilities — most don’t need anything different to do the job.
  • It increases diversity in your workplace.
Write job descriptions that focus on key skills you need. Padding it out with lesser skills could exclude disabled applicants.

Write job descriptions that focus on key skills you need. Padding it out with lesser skills could exclude disabled applicants.

For example, say you want someone able to produce high-quality documents using a word-processing program. Leave out a minimum typing speed.

Support for employers

Many employers don’t hire disabled staff in the mistaken belief they will need to make costly additions to the workplace to accommodate them. Only 10% of disabled staff need modification to a work area or equipment to help them do their job.

For those who do, you can get funding to modify your workplace, get started with a disabled employee, and for ongoing support.

A minimum wage exemption may be available in certain circumstances.

Minimum wage exemption(external link) – Employment New Zealand

You’ll find a range of resources for employees on the Ministry of Social Development website, including:

  • Lead Toolkit — a guide to employing disabled people
  • free services and help when employing disabled people.

Lead Toolkit(external link) — Ministry of Social Development 

Disability Confident(external link) — Ministry of Social Development 

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