Victorian workers with disability have been more affected by the pandemic than other workers, reporting higher levels of stress, more mental health concerns, feelings of isolation, more difficulty sleeping and increased financial stress, a survey by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has found.
The commission surveyed 1,504 Victorian workers who either have a disability or are a parent or carer of a person with disability.
The results of the survey were released on Friday morning.
It found that 52% reported increased financial stress, compared with 46% of other workers, and 45% said they needed to dip into their savings to get by.
About 40% of respondents said they found it quite difficult to manage their disability and work during the pandemic, rising to 49% for people with mental ill-health.
The survey also found that workers with disability were more likely to report a positive experience working from home, 56% compared to 45% of other workers. People with disability were twice as likely to ask for flexible work arrangements during the pandemic, but more likely to have those requests refused.
The survey also showed that women took on a greater share of the parenting and caring duties, with 38% of women reporting they did all the work and 77% reporting they did more than their partner. Men were more likely than women to report that their partner spent more time with the children since the pandemic than before.
Sixty-three percent of carers and 48% of parents said they found it difficult to balance work and caring responsibilities during the pandemic, and 67% said they’d had to make trade-offs between caring and keeping up with work.
Two-thirds of single parents (67%) reported feeling more stressed during the pandemic, compared to 62% of coupled parents and 65% of carers.
Single parents were also more likely to report difficulty sleeping (54%), having to dip into their savings to get by (49%), and having elevated concerns about their own mental health (50%).
Worryingly, the commission found that people who had both parenting and caring responsibilities were more likely to be refused a request for flexible work arrangements than people who have just parenting or just caring arrangements. Twenty-six per cent of requests from people with dual parenting and caring responsibilities were refused, compared to 13% from people who had just parenting or just caring responsibilities.
Twenty five per cent of workers who are both parents and carers reported they had experienced workplace discrimination.