The Supported Wage System is an Australian government program that changes how much people with a disability are paid, based on how much work they can do in a set time (called ‘productivity’). The Supported Wage System is designed for people whose disability affects them in being able to do a job in about the same time as other people. For example, if it takes you four times as long to type something as other people.
If you are employed under the Supported Wage System, this is the only time an employer is allowed to pay you less than somebody doing the same job as you, just because you have a disability. You can only be part of this system if both you and an organisation called Job Access say it is OK. It is your choice. You have the right to say no to the Supported Wage System. Your employer or Job Access can suggest that the Supported Wage System might be an option, but you have the final say.
You can only be part of the Supported Wage System if an independent assessor from Job Access has spent some time finding out about your abilities. An independent assessor is a person who comes to your workplace to find out how long it takes you to do parts of your job. If you are part of this system, an assessor must come to your workplace and check this every year. Your pay rate may go up, down or stay the same after each assessment.
For more information or advice on the Supported Wage System, you can contact AED Legal Centre, Department of Social Services Supported Wage Management Unit (1800 065 123), or the Youth Disability Advocacy Service.
Max got a new job and his employment service suggested he use the Supported Wage System. But he didn't want to be paid less than other workers just because he has a disability. So he asked an advocate for help.