About Supported Employment
The Australian Government is committed to helping people with disability who have the desire and capacity to work, to find and keep a job.
Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) are generally not-for-profit organisations that play an important role in providing supported employment opportunities to people with moderate to severe disability across Australia.
ADEs offer similar working conditions to other employers and an opportunity for people with disability to contribute and connect to their local community. ADEs provide a wide range of employment opportunities including packaging, assembly, production, recycling, screen-printing, plant nursery, garden maintenance and landscaping, cleaning services, laundry services and food services.
Transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Prior to the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Disability Employment Assistance (DEA) program was the Australian Government’s supported employment program. The DEA program ceased on 31 March 2021.
The majority of supported employees have transitioned to the NDIS, with ADEs claiming funding from NDIS participant plans.
Further information about supported employment under the NDIS can be found on the NDIS website, including information on the new NDIS pricing framework introduced on 1 July 2020 and NDIS eligibility requirements.
Disability Employment Continuity of Support (DECoS)
The DECoS program commenced on 1 April 2021 and will run to 30 June 2023.
The DECoS program provides funding for supports and services that enable supported employees who, as at 31 March 2021, were funded under the DEA program, and are ineligible for the NDIS (due to their age, residency, citizenship or disability type) to participate in and retain employment.
Supported employee wages
Wages for the majority of supported employees are calculated using wage assessment tools under the Supported Employment Services Award 2020 (the Award). 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, including moving to a single wage assessment tool, the Supported Wage System tool, with modifications to reflect a $3.50 minimum wage and two new wage grades (A and B). The FWC also decided to change superannuation contributions for employees under the Award. From 1 January 2021, superannuation contributions for employees with a disability is either 9.5% of their ordinary time earnings or $15 per week, whichever is the greater.
As part of its decision, the FWC requested the Australian Government fund a three-month trial (the Trial) of the proposed changes to determine their practicality and cost impacts on ADEs. The Trial was scheduled to commence on 1 May 2020, however was placed on hold due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Trial was undertaken between March and August 2021 and the Final Report from the Trial evaluation has been published on the FWC’s website.
The Australian Government has committed $67 million to support ADEs to transition to any new wage structures under the Award, following a final decision by the FWC.
For further information on the review of the Award, visit the FWC's website.