In a comprehensive position paper titled “The Future of Wage Setting in Supported Employment,” NDS charts a course for addressing the ongoing discourse surrounding wage rates in supported employment. The document reflects NDS’s commitment to fostering fairness, equity, and inclusion within this crucial sector, considering recent recommendations from the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) and the Federal Government’s Guiding Principles for Supported Employment.
Developed in collaboration with the NDS Industry Vision Reference Group, comprising diverse stakeholders such as advocates, supported employees, providers, and sector experts, the position paper navigates the complexities involved in wage-setting considerations. Aligned with Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031, the paper advocates for opportunities enabling individuals with disabilities to experience the benefits of gainful employment.
- Full Award Wages for Supported Employees:
- Recommends that supported employees receive no less than full award wages.
- Proposes a social wage model, integrating the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and wages from supported employment providers, with supplementary support from the government.
- Financial Viability and Employee Well-being:
- Commits to safeguarding the financial viability of employers to prevent adverse effects like reduced hours, job losses, or service closures.
- Pensioner Work Bonus Extension:
- Urges the extension of the Pensioner Work Bonus to individuals receiving DSP in paid employment, aiming to enhance incentives and immediate wage boosts.
- Recognition of Unique Value:
- Advocates for acknowledging the unique value of the supported employment sector in modernizing and ensuring financial sustainability.
- Calls for the recognition and support of the work performed by supported employees through government and business procurement policies.
- Inclusive Decision-Making:
- Emphasizes co-design with supported employees and their families in shaping the future of their jobs.
- Industry Transition and Recognition:
- Encourages outcome payments to incentivize the transition of employees into mainstream settings, leveraging the expertise of supported employment providers.
Background and Next Steps:
The position paper aligns with key factors, including the Fair Work Commission’s review of the SES Award 2020 and the Australian Government’s response to the DRC’s recommendations. It will be presented to Minister Shorten and Minister Rishworth for consideration as part of the government’s response to the DRC’s recommendations.
NDS remains committed to fostering an inclusive and sustainable supported employment sector, ensuring the well-being of supported employees and the continued evolution of Australia’s disability support landscape.
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