Innovative Practices 2013 on Employment

Helping disabled employees understand their rights

The Easy Read Individual Employment Agreement assists all potential and employed workers understand what their rights and responsibilities are.

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Helping disabled employees understand their rights
Organisation:People First New Zealand Inc. Nga Tangata Tuatahi
of origin
New Zealand


Potentially up to 9,000 workers across all employers.


People First New Zealand is a national self-advocacy organisation run by and for people with learning (intellectual) disability. It has over 600 members across 25 groups throughout New Zealand. People First NZ is a Disabled Persons Organisation and works to promote the rights of people with learning disability.

When all workers in New Zealand were covered by the same Employment Law (2007), People First NZ recognised, through research, that many people with learning disabilities who were working did not know their employment rights and had signed employment agreements that were not written in ways they could understand.

From 2008 to June 2012, People First NZ ran an employment advocacy service, Works4Us, to assist disabled workers to understand their employment rights and in issues of employment. As part of this service Work4Us developed an Easy Read Individual Employment Agreement to assist workers with learning disabilities.

A number of people and organisations were involved in the process of the development and their input has made the agreement successful. People First NZ would like to acknowledge employment lawyers, IHC NZ, the Department of Labour, people working in Human Resources, Unions, People First NZ members and staff.

People First NZ is very proud to have developed an Easy Read Individual Employment Agreement that meets all the legal requirements of employment law in New Zealand and is promoting its use.

The employment agreement has been taken to international conferences and the International Labour Organisation has commented that it is a first in the world.


Originating in New Zealand, use of a similar agreement is now also being discussed in both Canada and Australia.



Cindy Johns
National Manager
People First NZ Inc.
Level 4 Century City Tower, 173-175 Victoria Street, PO Box 9199 Marion Square, Wellington 6141, New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 3813242

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