Employment support

FSS talk on supported employment

A model for supporting work seekers and employees who have psychiatric disabilities

Summary of a talk given by Zerina Hajwani, Altitude Supported Employment Co-Director, at the August 2021 online meeting of Cape Support for Mental Health. Extracted from CSMH newsletters.

Supported employment organisations and information

Altitude Supported Employment

ASE provides work integration and re-integration support services to new and existing employers of people with disabilities, and to employees and work seekers with disabilities. Advises on sustainable employment and the provisions of the Employment Equity Act. Based in Cape Town.

Reasonable employment accommodation

“Reasonable accommodation” in terms of the Employment Equity Act

The Employment Equity Act creates opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities to enter the workplace, as employers are incentivised to meet EE targets. The purpose of the Act is to remove unfair discrimination and to promote equity in the workplace. The Act protects persons with disabilities and others against unfair discrimination and, as a previously disadvantaged group, disabled persons are eligible to benefit from affirmative action programmes.

The Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities defines persons with disabilities as “persons who have a long-term or recurring physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits their prospects of entry into, or advancement in employment.” 

All designated employers should “reasonably accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities.” Reasonable accommodation refers to modifications or changes to the way a job is normally performed, that makes it possible for a suitably qualified person with a disability to perform on par with everyone else. 

The type of reasonable accommodation required, would depend on the job and its essential functions, the work environment and the person’s specific disability. In the case of psychiatric disability, for instance, it could involve adjusting work schedules or environments to reduce stress.

The following article was written for psychiatrists. It also contains useful information for families.

Jonika Oberholster and Stoffel Grobler. Reasonable Accommodation, in the workplace: What every psychiatrist should know. South African Psychiatry. Issue 20 2019.