Questions and Answers: BSWAT Payment Scheme
What is BSWAT?
The Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) was developed by the Australian Government for use by Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) to assess wages of supported employees.
BSWAT Payment Scheme
What is this scheme?
The scheme will provide an additional payment in certain circumstances to eligible supported employees with an intellectual disability whose wages were assessed and paid using the BSWAT.
Why has this scheme been established?
The BSWAT Payment Scheme has been established by the Australian Government following the Federal Court finding in December 2012 that the BSWAT indirectly discriminated against two ADE employees with an intellectual disability.
It will provide an additional payment to eligible employees in certain circumstances and provide certainty to employees about their future employment with ADEs.
How much will payments be?
Work is still being done on payment design. The Australian Government will provide more information about the scheme as details are developed.
Will the scheme pay compensation?
The scheme will not pay compensation. It will make an additional payment in certain circumstances to former and current eligible employees in relation to work they have performed in the past. The Australian Government will provide more information about the circumstances in which payment will be made as details of the scheme are developed.
When will the scheme commence and how long will it go for?
The scheme will start from 1 July 2014. The Australian Government will provide more information as the details of the scheme are developed.
How do I access the scheme?
The Australian Government will provide more information as the details of the scheme are developed and before the scheme begins on 1 July 2014.
How does this fit in with the representative proceedings being undertaken by people with disability working in ADEs who have had their wages assessed using BSWAT? (Note: on 20 December 2013, a representative proceeding was commenced in the Federal Court (see Tyson Duval-Comrie v Commonwealth of Australia (VID 1367 of 2013))
People who take part in any representative or subsequent proceedings cannot also access the BSWAT Payments Scheme. These types of actions may take some time to be determined by the Court or resolved—possibly years—whereas the scheme will be available for registration from 1 July 2014.
How does this fit with the temporary exemption application the Department of Social Services made to the Australian Human Rights Commission?
The BSWAT Payment Scheme is linked to the exemption application, but they are separate matters. The department is still awaiting advice from the Australian Human Rights Commission as to whether the temporary exemption application has been approved to allow an orderly transition from the use of the BSWAT to a new wage assessment process.
Does this mean the BSWAT will still be used?
The Department has asked for a temporary exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) to be able to continue to use the BSWAT for a maximum period of three years. If the exemption is granted, ADEs will need to transition to a different wage assessment process in the time period set down by the Commission.
Who will be eligible?
Eligibility criteria for the BSWAT Payment Scheme are still being considered and developed by the Australian Government. However, to be eligible for the scheme, people must, at a minimum:
- have an intellectual disability;
- have had their wages assessed using the BSWAT;
- claimed to have experienced economic loss as a result; and
- been paid pro-rata wages at the classification level 1 or 2 of the Supported Employment Service Modern Award (2010).
Further eligibility criteria for the scheme may be imposed.
All eligibility criteria will need to be met for individuals to access the scheme.
Will I need to prove that I meet these criteria to access the scheme?
It is likely that people with disability accessing the scheme will need to demonstrate that they meet all criteria.
I have been working in an ADE and have had my wages assessed using a different tool. Am I eligible for the scheme?
No. Only people who have been paid a pro-rata wage assessed using the BSWAT (and who meet the other eligibility criteria for the scheme) will be eligible.
If I access a payment from the scheme, how will it affect my pension?
Impacts of the additional payments on social security payments and tax will be considered as part of the development of the scheme. The Australian Government will provide more information as the details of the scheme are developed.
How can I find out more?
More information will be available in the coming weeks.
All people with disability working in ADEs will receive a letter in January, telling them about the announcement.
When more detail is available, new letters will be sent to all supported employees and the following information locations will be updated: