Introduction

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (the AIHW) is an equal employment opportunity employer, committed to the principles of workplace diversity. As an Australian Public Service (APS) agency, the employment of people at the AIHW is governed primarily by the Public Service Act 1999 (the PS Act), which articulates a set of Values, Employment Principles, and Code of Conduct that govern the employment and conduct of all AIHW staff. This includes all Senior Executive Service (SES) staff, Executive Level (EL) and APS level staff whether employed on an ongoing, non-ongoing or contractual basis.

Purpose

The AIHW’s Workplace Diversity Program (The Program) has been developed to assist managers and staff in giving effect to the APS Employment Principles in this area, in particular:

“10A(1) The APS is a career-based public service that:

  1. provides workplaces that are free from discrimination, patronage and favouritism; and
  2. recognises the diversity of the Australian community and fosters diversity in the workplace.” [1]

The Program “includes measures directed at eliminating employment-related disadvantages in the AIHW on the basis of:

  • being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander;
  • gender;
  • race or ethnicity;
  • disability; or
  • being a member of a group that, from time to time, is identified as having an employment-related disadvantage.” [2]

The AIHW’s measures are also directed at ensuring that:

  1. all relevant anti-discrimination laws are complied with,
  2. the diversity of AIHW employees is recognised, fostered and made best use of within the workplace, taking into account AIHW’s organisational and business goals and the skills required, and
  3. AIHW employees are helped to balance their work, family and other caring responsibilities effectively.

Measures

Workplace arrangements and policies

  • Flexible working conditions that include part-time work, flex-time, time-off-in-lieu (TOIL) arrangements, and home-based work.
  • A Reasonable Adjustments Policy to support the provision of an inclusive and accessible workplace for people with a disability.
  • A Workplace Behaviour Policy aimed at preventing and responding to negative behaviour in the workplace (including discrimination, harassment and bullying).
  • A Recruitment Policy and Procedures that:
    • provides for the creation of identified positions
    • encourages managers and selection advisory committees to embrace attitudes and adopt practices to support members of designated diversity groups applying for, securing and maintaining employment
    • provides candidates with the opportunity to indicate in their application of their ATSI, NESB and/or disability status so that the selection committee may be appropriately structured and/or for candidates to request any special requirements they may need to compete on merit regarding interviews and/or other assessment activities.

Advice and Support

  • An SES Disability Champion
  • An SES Indigenous Champion
  • A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and an active RAP Working Group (RAPWG)
  • A group of upto six Workplace Harassment Contact Officers (WHCO)
  • An EL2 staff member (People and Facilities Unit Head) identified as the AIHW’s Ethics Advisor (in relation to the APS Values and Code of Conduct) and who actively participates in the APSC’s Ethics Advisory Network
  • An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) service provided by Davidson Trahaire Corpsych

Facilities and Information

  • A strong focus on learning and development that includes relevant in-house training programs delivered regularly. Programs include: Indigenous and cultural (diversity) awareness; appropriate workplace behaviour; APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct; Conflict Resolution; Unconscious Bias
  • The provision of a dedicated breastfeeding room and a parenting room in the AIHW’s offices at 1 Thynne Street, Bruce Canberra and Level 9, 1 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst Sydney. Through the Australian Breastfeeding Association, the AIHW has achieved accreditation as a breastfeeding friendly workplace.

Performance Evaluation and Reporting

 The measures will be evaluated annually by the People and Facilities Unit (PFU) to assess their effectiveness in meeting the program’s purpose. Evaluations will be based on the following performance indicators:

  • Staff feedback against relevant questions in the annual APS Employee Census and other relevant ad-hoc feedback PFU receives from managers and staff
  • Number of staff accessing advice/support measures and utilising the facilities
  • Statistics showing numbers of staff by diversity group.

A written report of the annual evaluations will be provided to the Executive Committee (ExCo) and the AIHW Board. Key findings will be included in the AIHW’s Annual Report. 

[1] Public Service Act 1999 – Employment Principles http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/archive/circulars-archive/apsc-advice-20134 
[2] Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Direction 2013, Chapter 3 – Workplace diversity, http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013L00448