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NRA pushes for more inclusive hiring practices post-virus

Young businessman greets colleague in wheelchair with handshake in the company
Young businessman greets colleague in wheelchair with handshake in the company

Together with the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the National Retail Association has launched a project to help retailers nationwide to develop more inclusive hiring practices.

The ‘Ready and Able’ project aims to encourage the hiring of people with a disability, and provides information on workplace practices and protections, fact sheets, case studies and webinars to help retailers overcome blockages they may encounter. 

According to the Australian Network on Disability (AND), one in five Australians has some form of disability – over 4.4 million people. 

NRA chief executive Dominique Lamb said the timing of the project was important, as the retail industry is beginning the process of ramping back up after the COVID-19 crisis. 

“The retail industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, however as retail makes a comeback and employment starts up again, employers should consider applicants of all backgrounds and capabilities,” Lamb said.

According to the NRA, of the 2.1 million Australians of working age with a disability just under half are employed (47.8 per cent), compared with 80.3 per cent of people without a disability.

“If we are able to provide the steps and resources, and inform both employees and employers of the workplace laws when hiring someone with a disability, we are certain we can make a positive impact of equal employment and inclusivity,” Lamb said.

Leading disability employment service provider atWork Australia executive general manager Sotir Kondov said the COVID-19 crisis has transformed the employment landscape in Australia.

“At a time when so many are suffering the consequences of overwhelming job losses, we also hope to champion Australians with disability and help them gain equal access to the jobs that are available,” Kondov said.

Data from AND shows nine out of ten employees with disability are as, or more, productive than their peers, and 86 per cent show superior attendance. 

The project mirrors the Federal Government’s JobAccess program, which aims to provide pertinent information to employers, from how to maintain a safe workplace to understanding employer obligations, when employing a person with a disability. 

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