Job Support Fund
Job Support is one of three training and employment Support Funds available to disabled people in New Zealand. Support Funds are administered by Workbridge on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development.
Applications for Job Support funding are made by employees, not employers; however, where assistance will impact on the workplace, employers will be consulted.
Job Support provides financial assistance to cover additional costs related to an employee's disability. Job Support may apply to full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary work. The Job Support Fund targets people with disabilities who are seeking work or those already in employment who want to retain their employment. Support Funds can also be used when a person is in danger of losing their job because of the sudden onset of a disability or the worsening of an existing condition.
The Job Support funding limit for each individual is $16,900 in any 12 month period. The $16,900 limit is inclusive of any other Work and Income grants and subsidies that are received for similar purposes, e.g. Work and Income Skills Investment Subsides or Ministry of Social Development Modification Grants.
A person does not need to be registered with Workbridge in order to access Support Funds. Anyone with a disability can self-refer or be referred by a disability agency. If you have an employee whom you believe meets the criteria for support, then you can ask for more information about eligibility and the application process.
Job Support funding is available for, but not limited to:
- workplace assessments to establish the level of workplace support required
- modifications to a workplace
- job coaching (generally short-term) to assist the disabled person learn a new job, if their disability means they require extra assistance or a different format for learning the role
- purchase of additional physical support necessitated by the demands of the job (including on-the-job physiotherapy or attendant care)
- NZ Sign Language interpreter services - for Deaf or hearing impaired people
- special equipment to accommodate a person's disability
- additional costs of transport and parking, over and above the costs that a person without a disability would have
- a support person to provide on-the-job guidance and instruction to the employee
- Productivity Allowances that can cover any shortfalls in productivity related to a disabled person's disability. Each Productivity Allowance is tailored to the individual's needs
- induction training that is required because of the person's disability, or assistance with your standard induction programme to make it accessible to a new disabled employee
- disability awareness training for colleagues to promote a smooth entry into the workplace for both the disabled employee and other employees.
The scheme is very flexible and there will be many other support services which may be funded.
Applications for Job Support funding must be made by the person with the disability on an application form. Forms are available from Workbridge centres or you can click here to download one.
Access to Job Support funding is subject to the following criteria:
- the funds must be used to cover the additional costs that an employee has as a direct consequence of their disability, when undertaking the same job or training as a person without a disability
- applicants must be aged between 16 and 65 (although if an employee is currently under 16 and wishes to enter employment or 65 and over and wishes to continue in employment, talk to Workbridge)
- the applicant must have a disability which is likely to continue for at least six months. This disability must present a barrier to employment which cannot be overcome by support available though the Ministry of Social Development's mainstream services. Support Funds assistance may be ongoing
- the applicant must be living in New Zealand, and be a New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident, or hold an appropriate open work permit
- applicants whose vocational services or disability costs are funded through the Ministry of Health are not eligible. For further information, visit the disability funding pages of the Ministry of Health's website
- an applicant is generally not eligible for Support Funds where vocational services or disability costs are a result of an accident, and/or are the responsibility of the ACC
- other funding options need to be considered before Support Funds assistance can be provided
- employees must have an employment agreement that meets the conditions of the Employment Relations Act 2000 which covers both the individual applying and all staff within the workplace
- there are four wage rate considerations:
- The applicant must be receiving at least the minimum wage rate.
- The applicant must be receiving the going rate of pay for the job or position held.
- The wage must reflect the applicant's productivity after any support services have been provided
- If the applicant is receiving piece rates, they must earning the minimum wage.
Modification Grants are administered by Work and Income. Modification Grants provide financial assistance to disabled people to help them gain or retain open employment, by removing barriers.
Open employment is defined as a job that is available to anyone in the community and meets the minimum terms and conditions of employment.
What can Modification Grants help with?
Modification Grants are paid to employers or suppliers to fund, or help fund, the following:
- modifications to the workplace, such as ramps and handrails
- adaptation of equipment, such as cordless phones where the equipment will remain with the employer should the employee leave
- purchase of specialised equipment necessary to take up or retain work, such as visual aids or computer equipment where the equipment will remain with the employer should the employee leave.
How does my employee apply?
Applications for Modification Grants can be made through Workbridge or Work and Income.