A PROGRAM aimed at supporting employees at risk of losing their job is being promoted by a local employment agency as part of a community recovery plan in the wake of COVID-19.

Work Assist, a free federal Government program, aims to support employees who are experiencing difficulty maintaining their current employment due to a diagnosed disability, injury or illness.

Sureway Employment and Training Employment Consultant Kate Sutton said that mental health conditions had become a prevalent factor in the workforce following COVID-19.

“It is important that business owners and individuals are aware of the support that is available to them,” Kate said.

“It has been a difficult time for many people, and we are noticing people reporting that mental health is posing a big barrier to people returning to the workplace or functioning at their best.

“The Work Assist program is designed to support you to maintain your existing job, and advocate for you if changes are required to tasks, breaks or environment.

“In the case of mental health, this could involve linking you with the correct support services and advocating to your employer for flexible work arrangements.”

Kate said that the program offered support to both the employee and the employer.

“If you are an employee, we can work with you confidentially or get your boss on board with your program; it’s very flexible,” she said.

“For business owners, we can provide job assessments and make recommendations on adjustments. We can also help you to access funding for workplace modifications, if needed.”

Recently, the program was able to support long-term employee of Air Filtration Cleaners, Peter Dennis, to stay in work with the help of his employer.

“Peter lives with an acquired brain injury. The sudden passing of his long-term boss and the subsequent change in management affected Peter deeply, and the change in routine caused him to become uncharacteristically agitated and frustrated in the workplace,” Kate said.

“Via the Work Assist program, we were able to support Peter to meet with his health team to review his ongoing treatment options and provide workplace guidance and mediation to Peter, his new boss and teammates. He is now back to his normal, productive and motivated self at work and is much happier in general.

“The greatest win was that the business was able to maintain an experienced employee and Peter retained his long years of service in a job he loves,” Kate said.

Sureway is a provider of the Government’s Disability Employment Services (DES) programs across Adelaide.

To find out more about the Work Assist program, get in touch with your Sureway team by phoning 1300 SUREWAY (1300 787 392), emailing info@sureway.com.au or dropping into the office at 61 Bair Street, Leongatha.