Who else needs to know about the NRS?
Your employees who need to know about the NRS include:
- call centre staff - they are the ones who will manage the calls
- human resources managers and staff - for job ads, induction programs, continuing education programs
- staff in your communications and public affairs areas - for media releases, annual reports, internal newsletters, intranets etc
- website staff - for ensuring NRS info in your contact details is kept up to date
- senior executives - to ensure compliance with disability legislation through the organisation
- any staff who might receive or make a relay call through your call centre
- staff who are deaf or have hearing or speech impairments - they will need to make outbound relay calls
- IT managers - they might be asked to facilitate internet relay calls for any of your staff who are deaf or have hearing or speech impairments.
If you have staff who use the NRS
Some of your employees might be deaf or have a hearing impairment and depend on the NRS to make and receive calls. As a Relay Service friendly organisation you will want to ensure that any staff who need to use the NRS are able to do so easily. This may mean providing them with:
If your organisation restricts access to general web browsing or to instant messaging applications (both provide ways to make an internet relay call) you might need to allow specific access to the internet relay call page (www.iprelay.gov.au/call/index.aspx) for the relevant staff members. Contact us for more advice.
The Human Rights Commission FAQs on the NRS make it clear that the rights of staff with hearing or speech impairments to use the NRS to perform their duties is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act.
The Australian Employers Network on Disability provides more information on employer support for employees with disabilities.
Advertising a staff member's TTY number
Many people that you deal with might not be aware that a particular member of your staff regularly uses the NRS. They might not understand what a relay call or use of a TTY involves.
In any place where these employees advertise their phone numbers, for example as part of their signature block on emails, they could include a short explanation and a link back to the NRS website. The following, for example, could be included as part of an email signature:
[Employee's phone number] (Please note that I have a hearing impairment and that this number is to a TTY phone. A relay officer from the National Relay Service will type your words to me as you speak. To learn more see www.relayservice.gov.au)
Working out whether to keep your separate TTY line
Your organisation may have a TTY in your contact centre or reception area with a dedicated number that you advertise.
You may want to consider whether to decommission it and rely instead on the NRS to handle calls from customers with hearing or speech impairments if:
- your advertised TTY line is no longer connected
- your TTY is not always answered
- the conversation is not always handled well because few staff are trained to take calls on the TTY
- the TTY is located in an area where the staff member answering it can't provide all the information or services required, or can't transfer the call to a staff member who can provide the information or services.
You will need to determine your own internal process to phase out your TTY line in a planned and seamless manner.