Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) Media backgrounder

Australian Disability Enterprises

  • Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) are commercial businesses that employ a mix of people with disability (often referred to as ‘supported employees’).
  • ADEs operate in a wide range of business sectors throughout Australia, including gardening, cleaning, manufacturing, laundry and packaging.
  • The Australian Government provides funding to ADEs for the direct, ongoing support that supported employees need to maintain their employment.
  • ADEs pay wages using revenue from their business activities.
  • About 190 not-for-profit organisations operate more than 300 ADEs across Australia, employing about 20,000 supported employees (mostly with intellectual disability). 

ADEs operated in the following locations as at 8 January 2014:

115 3 84 31 20 3 37 12

Business Services Wages Assessment Tool (BSWAT)

  • Supported employees in Australia are paid a pro-rata wage.
  • Pro-rata wages are determined using a wage tool.
  • ADEs have had a number of wage tools permitted for use in the relevant Modern Award (the Supported Employment Services Modern Award 2010). One of these is the BSWAT.
  • The BSWAT was developed by the Australian Government in consultation with stakeholders and released for use in ADEs in 2004. This tool measures a worker’s productivity and competency in performing a job.
  • About half of workers in ADEs have their wages paid using the BSWAT.
  • On 21 December 2012 the Full Federal Court found that two supported employees (Nojin vs Commonwealth) had experienced indirect discrimination because their wages had been assessed using BSWAT. 

BSWAT Payment Scheme

  • The Australian Government has decided to establish a payment scheme to deliver certainty to people with disability, their families and carers, and the ADEs that employ them.
  • The scheme will operate from 1 July 2014
  • Eligibility criteria for the scheme are still being considered and developed. But, to be eligible for the scheme, people must, at a minimum, have:
  • an intellectual disability
  • had their wages assessed using the BSWAT
  • claimed to have experienced economic loss as a result
  • been paid pro-rata wages at the classification level 1 or 2 of the Supported Employment Service Modern Award (2010).

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