The Coalition Government is to establish a payment scheme for supported employees.  The new scheme applies to people with intellectual disability working in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE) who previously had their wages assessed under the Business Service Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT).  It follows the outcome of a recent Federal Court case that found two supported employees had experienced indirect discrimination because their wages had been assessed by using BSWAT.

The scheme is intended to deliver certainty for people with disability, their families, carers and the ADE’s that employ them while the implications of the court decision are worked through, said the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield. “The government’s priority is to ensure minimal disruption to the employment of these supported employees. Longer term, the government will develop a new wage assessment process,” Senator Fifield said.

Employees with intellectual disability, who have worked in an ADE at grade 1 or 2 level, have been paid a pro-rata wage assessed using the BSWAT and experienced economic loss, will be eligible to register for the scheme from July 1, 2014.

About 190 not-for-profit organisations operate more than 300 ADE’s across Australia, employing about 20,000 supported employees. About half of workers in ADEs have their wages paid using the BSWAT.  ADEs operate in a wide range of business sectors including gardening, cleaning, manufacturing, laundry and packaging.