Advice for employers

On this page you will find information for employers about employing disabled people, helping employees get back to work after an injury, and where to go for advice. 

Why you should employ people with disabilities 

According to Business NZ, more than 21% of New Zealanders aged 15 to 64 live with a disability, but only 45% of disabled adults have jobs, compared with more than 70% for non-disabled people. 

Disabled people make dedicated and passionate employees. If companies don’t attract disabled candidates, they're missing out on an enormous pool of talent. 

There are many benefits to employing disabled people, including: 

  • A larger talent pool to draw from 

  • Disabled employees take fewer sick days 

  • It’s easy to accommodate staff with disabilities – most don’t need any extra assistance to do their jobs. 

  • Your workplace will have more diversity 

Getting help to employ disabled people 

If you'd like to employ disabled people but you need more information about how to go about it, the Ministry of Social Development’s Disability Confident campaign is a good place to start. 

It includes information and advice about employing disabled people, meeting your staff’s needs, the benefits to your business, and free services you can access when you hire disabled people. 

Recruiting people with disabilities 

Sometimes the wording of job vacancies can be a barrier to getting applications from disabled candidates. 

The Ministry of Social Development's Lead Toolkit has advice about how to improve your chances of getting more applications from people with disabilities, including: 

  • Group job criteria into ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ aspects 

  • Rank criteria in order of importance 

  • Don’t include blanket requirements or exclusions in relation to health or disability 

  • Specify qualifications only if it’s a genuine requirement of the job 

Training in disability responsiveness 

A big part of having an inclusive work environment is ensuring staff are trained to work with people with disabilities. 

Disability Responsiveness NZ runs workshops designed to help people learn about impairments and disabilities and create an inclusive space.

Find out about Disability Responsiveness workshops for your workplace (external website)

Employer Advice Line 

If you’d like free, confidential advice about managing and supporting workers with disabilities or health conditions, you can call the Employer Advice Line. 

Funded by the Ministry of Social Development, the advice line can help with issues like: 

  • Helping an employee get back to work after surgery 
  • Supporting a new employee with a mental health condition 
  • Helping a disabled employee pick up new tasks 

You can call the Employer Advice Line on 0800 805 405 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday. 

Helping an employee get back to work after an injury 

If you have an employee who has been of work due to injury, ACC can work with you to help get your employee back to work. 

These are some things ACC can help with: 

  • Arranging for an occupational therapist to assess the workplace and come up with a return-to-work plan for your employee 
  • An abatement if an employee can’t work their usual hours, and this would have a financial impact on the business 
  • Temporary modifications to your workplace so your employee can get back to work sooner 
  • A work trial so your employee can return to work gradually while still receiving ACC compensation, reducing the financial burden on the business