Supported Employment - Frequently Asked Questions

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About Supported Employment Frequently Asked Questions Resources

Supported employment plays a vital role in improving the social and economic participation of many
people with disability in Australia.

How can I find an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE)?

Here are two simple ways you can find an ADE:

  • The BuyAbility website is an online compendium managed by National Disability Services that helps purchasers identify and engage the services of organisations that employ people with disability. On the BuyAbility website, you can search for ADEs by name, location, or business type
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has a list of ADEs that are registered as NDIS providers. You can filter within the provider list by type of registration groups - ADEs are listed as ‘Spec Support Employ’.

How does an organisation become an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE)?

Organisations that wish to deliver supported employment services should register to become a service provider under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

What is the Disability Employment Assistance (DEA) program?

The DEA program enables funding to be provided by the Department of Social Services to Australian Disability Enterprises to support the employment of individuals with moderate to severe disability, known as supported employees. The DEA program ceases on 31 March 2021.

For more information on the DEA program, please see the Operational Guidelines and the Standard Grant Agreement.

Is supported employment transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)? 

The majority of supported employees have now transitioned to the NDIS, with Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) claiming funding from NDIS participant plans.

On 1 July 2020, the National Disability Insurance Agency introduced a new pricing framework for Supports in Employment that outlines how ADEs can claim from participant plans.

Current clients of the DEA program are encouraged to test their eligibility for the NDIS before the DEA program ends.

For more information, visit the NDIA website.

What happens to Disability Employment Assistance (DEA) clients that are ineligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)? 

The Disability Employment Continuity of Support (DECoS) program will provide funding for supports and services that enable supported employees who, as at 31 March 2021, are funded under the Disability Employment Assistance program, and are ineligible for the NDIS (due to their age, residency, citizenship or disability type) to participate in and retain employment.

How are wages determined for supported employees?

The majority of supported employees working in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) are employed under the Supported Employment Services Award 2020 (the Award). Under the Award, supported employees can be paid a wage as calculated by a number of wage assessment tools.

As part of its four yearly review of modern awards, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) is currently reviewing the Award. On 3 December 2019, the FWC released a preliminary decision on the review of the Award and outlined a number of proposed changes. At the request of the FWC, the Department of Social Services agreed to undertake a three-month trial, to test the practicality and cost impact of the proposed changes on ADEs (the Trial).

The Trial was scheduled to commence on 1 May 2020, however was placed on hold due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is anticipated the Trial will commence in March 2021.

What are the quality standards for supported employment services? 

The quality standards for supported employment services funded under the Disability Services Act 1986 (the Act) are set out in the Disability Services Act (National Standards for Disability Services) Determination 2014 (the NSDS).

Services funded under the Act must be independently assessed and certified as complying with the standards in the NSDS. Organisations must hold a valid certificate against the NSDS to receive funding under the Disability Employment Assistance program grant agreement.

Supported employment services that are registered providers under the National Disability Insurance Scheme must also comply with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018.

What is the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) Payment Scheme? 

The BSWAT Payment Scheme (the scheme) delivered a one-off compensation payment to eligible supported employees with intellectual impairment whose wages were assessed and paid using the BSWAT.

The scheme was a statutory, time-limited payment scheme established by the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Act 2015, which came into effect on 30 June 2015. The scheme ended on 31 December 2018.

For further information, please visit the BSWAT webpage.

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