Employees with disability pay rates

Minimum wage increase for some awards from 1 October 2022

Minimum wages in 10 awards in the aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors increase from 1 October 2022.

Our pay tools, information and resources have been updated with the new pay rates and allowances.

You can:

Minimum wages increased for all other awards from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2022.

Learn more and check if your award is affected at Minimum wage increase for some awards from 1 October 2022.

Employees with disability are entitled to the same minimum pay rates as other employees unless they are covered by the Supported Wage System. The Supported Wage System is for employees with disability who are not able to perform jobs at the same capacity as any other employee.

Information on the Supported Wage System

Employees with disability have the same minimum wage entitlements as other employees except when they are covered by the Supported Wage System. Under the Supported Wage System a special workplace arrangement can be made for employers to pay wages to a person with disability based on how productive they are in their job. Under the Supported Wage System an employee's work capacity is assessed to find out their rate of pay. 

The Department of Social Services gives out information and advice about who is eligible for the Supported Wage System. It also accepts applications for the Supported Wage System and can deal with disputes. 

Employers who are considering applying for the Supported Wage System should visit the JobAccess website.

When can a supported wage be paid?

If an employee is covered by an award or registered agreement, a supported wage can only be paid if:

  • the award or agreement has supported wage provisions,
  • the employee is eligible
  • the employer has applied to the Department of Social Services.

Where an award or agreement has supported wage provisions, an eligible employee is entitled to a percentage of the minimum pay rate for their classification, depending on their assessed work capacity. For example, someone with an assessed work capacity of 70% is entitled to 70% of the relevant pay rate in their award or registered agreement. This assessment can only be carried out by a qualified independent assessor.

In most awards, employees eligible for a supported wage can't be paid less than $95 per week. This also applies to casuals, and junior employees. 

For more information and examples see our library articles: 

Employees may need to work a trial period while their work capacity is assessed by a qualified independent assessor. Most employees still have to be paid at least $95 per week during the trial period. 

The minimum of $95 per week does not apply to all employees with disability, including during a trial period. Read below for more information about these exceptions.

Exceptions to the minimum weekly payment

The minimum payment of $95 each week does not apply to an employee with disability if:

  • they're covered by an award or agreement that doesn't have supported wage provisions
  • their disability doesn't affect their work capacity
  • they're covered by the Supported Employment Services Award. 

If there are no supported wage provisions in the award or registered agreement, an employee with disability must be paid the full pay rate for their classification.

Similarly, if an employee’s disability doesn't affect the way they can do their job, they're not covered by the Supported Wage System and get the full pay rate for their classification.

Employees covered by the Employment Services Award

Employees eligible for a supported wage under Schedule D of the Supported Employment Award are entitlement to a minimum supported wage that is calculated differently to other awards.

Employees are entitled to a percentage of the relevant minimum pay rate for their classification. The percentage applied is the higher of:

  • the employee’s assessed work capacity, rounded to the nearest whole percentage, or
  • 12.5%.

If an employee is working a trial period while their capacity is being assessed, the employee must be paid at least 12.5% of the relevant minimum pay rate for their classification, for each hour worked within the trial period.  

What about employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement?

Employees that aren't covered by an award or registered agreement, are entitled to the national minimum wage.

An employee with disability can be paid a percentage of the national minimum wage, depending on their assessed work capacity. For example, someone with a work capacity of 70% will get 70% of the national minimum wage. Work capacity assessments need to be carried out by a qualified independent assessor.

Employees can't be paid less than $95 per week.

Tools and resources

Related information

Have a workplace problem?

Problems can happen in any workplace. If you have a workplace problem, we have tools and information to help you resolve it.

Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical information about:

  • working out if there is a problem
  • speaking with your employer or employee about fixing the problem
  • getting help from us if you can't fix the problem.

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