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Know your Workplace Rights

We are sometimes asked what rights people with Idiopathic Hypersomnia and Narcolepsy have in the workplace. The following is a guide. For more information contact the FairWork Ombudsman.

Every worker in Australia must get a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement (FWIS) when they start a new job. The FWIS makes it easier for you to understand minimum workplace entitlements.

You can view and download a copy of it here. Information about the FWIS can be found here

There is a section in the FWIS titled ‘Flexibility’ which explains that employees that have been in the job for 12 months are eligible to request flexible working arrangements in the following circumstances:

  • the employee is a parent, or has responsibility for the care of a child who is of school age or younger

  • the employee is a carer (within the meaning of the Carer Recognition Act 2010)

  • the employee has a disability

  • the employee is 55 or older

  • the employee is experiencing violence from a member of the employee’s family or

  • the employee provides care or support to a member of their immediate family or household who requires care or support because they are experiencing violence from the member’s family.

For example if you have a disability and have been in the job for at least 12 months you can make a written request for flexible working arrangements. Your employer must respond in writing within 21 days. They can only say no to your request on ‘reasonable business grounds’. You will find more information about this including examples of what ‘reasonable business grounds’ include here. Do you have a disablity?

Employers should choose the best person for the job, whether that person has a disability or not. They should make this decision based on a person's ability to perform the essential activities of the job. They should not make assumptions about what a person can or cannot do because of a disability.

Employers must offer equal employment opportunities to everyone. This means that if a person with a disability can do the essential activities or "inherent requirements" of a job, he or she should have just as much chance to do that job as anyone else. For example, an essential activity or "inherent requirement" for a social worker is the ability to communicate and work with clients. It is not an "inherent requirement' to drive a car. Read more here.

For further information go to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s brief guide to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) here, at the end of the page there are links to various state and territory agencies.


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