Making and sharing kimchi in Gaemi Village, 1 December 2012Wage payments to Australian Disability Enterprises supported employees have been approved for short term use. The Australian Human Rights Commission will allow the payment to those who have already been assessed under the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) for another 12 months, subject to conditions.

In a statement, the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield, said the government is considering the exemption decision and the supporting reasons and working through its implications.

“It is disappointing that, on face value, the decision does not provide Australian Disability Enterprises with the amount of time they need to transition to new wage setting arrangements.”

He added that the government has been working hard to resolve this issue and earlier announced the establishment of a payment scheme for supported employees with intellectual disability in Australian Disability Enterprises who previously had their wages assessed under the BSWAT.

The minister said the government’s priority is in ensuring continuity of employment support for people with disability working in Australian Disability Enterprises.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has granted an exemption with conditions that appear to require that Australian Disability Enterprises must immediately start using the Supported Wage System, or an alternative tool approved by the Fair Work Commission, to conduct new and outstanding wage assessments.

In 2013 the Department of Social Services sought a three-year exemption from some sections of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, to allow the continued use of the BSWAT in Australian Disability Enterprises while the implications of recent Full Federal Court decision are being worked through and a new wage assessment process investigated.