Supported Employment Services Award pay rates

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Resources to help you explain the Award changes to your employees

Use our free Template for writing an Easy Read letter - Explaining the changes to the Supported Employment Services Award to explain the upcoming changes to classifications, supported wage assessments, and pay. The template has 2 parts:

Part A is for employers. It gives an overview of the changes to the SES Award and instructions for filling out Part B of the template.

Part B is an Easy Read letter to give to the employee. It uses simple language and pictures to explain the upcoming Award changes and how they will affect your employee.

Find out about the 30 June 2023 changes to the Supported Employment Services Award.

Included are changes to:

  • minimum rates
  • classifications
  • supported wage assessments.

icon of a document and cog in yellow circleNeed help understanding and applying the new classification levels in the SES Award?

Use our free Classification guide for the Supported Employment Services Award .

Who the changes apply to

The changes apply to the Supported Employment Services Award (Award). This Award covers employees who:

  • work for employers who operate supported employment services
  • fit within the classifications in the Award.

Most employees who work for supported employment services employers are employees with disability.

The changes affect both existing employees and new employees hired from 30 June 2023.

For more information on:

Employees not covered by the Award

Employees who are covered by other awards or enterprise agreements will not be affected by these changes.

Minimum rates for employees with disability

From the first pay period starting on or after 30 June 2023, there are new and updated classifications and transitional minimum rates for employees with disability covered by the Supported Employment Services Award.

New classifications

From 30 June 2023, there will be new Grade A and Grade B classifications added to the Award. These are in addition to the existing Grade 1 – 7 classifications.

Grades A and B will apply to employees who:

  • because of their disability, are unable to undertake the duties or exercise the level of skill and responsibility of a job in Grades 1 – 7
  • are in a job that doesn’t fall into Grades 1 – 7
  • are in a job that requires a level of supervision and monitoring to accommodate the effects of their disability.

Grade A

Grade A is a job that:

  • consists of a simple task or tasks of up to 3 steps
  • has steps that may involve using jigs, basic equipment or tools
  • is under direct supervision
  • has constant monitoring.

The minimum rate of pay for a full-time or part-time Grade A employee is $4.75 per hour from the first pay period starting on or after 30 June 2023.

Grade B

Grade B is a job that:

  • consists of a simple task or tasks of more than 3 steps
  • has steps that may involve using mechanical or electrical equipment or tools
  • is under direct supervision
  • has regular monitoring.

The minimum rate of pay for a full-time or part-time Grade B employee is $9.50 per hour from the first pay period starting on or after 30 June 2023.

Grade A and B casual employees get a 25% loading on top of the minimum hourly rate of pay.

Changing classifications

The classifications in Grades 1 to 7 are also changing from 30 June 2023.

The classifications between Grades 1 and 7 in the Award can apply to employees with or without disability, based on their qualifications, training, experience and duties.

Important

Employers need to review their existing employees’ classifications before 30 June 2023, even if they are not part of the Supported Wage System.

Employers need to determine the classification for new employees starting work from 30 June 2023 using the new classification structure. This is based on the employee’s qualifications, training experience and duties.

Employers should tell an employee what the employee's classification is.

You can find current rates of pay including penalty rates, allowances and casual rates of pay by using our Pay and Conditions Tool. Remember these rates will increase from 30 June 2023 – the new rates will be available closer to the start date.

We also have free resources to help employers manage these award changes and explain them to employees:

Transitional rates of pay for Grades A and B

From 30 June 2023 until 30 June 2026, the minimum rates of pay for Grade A and B employees will increase each year.

For Grade A employees, the minimum full-time and part-time rates of pay are below:

Effective date Minimum hourly rate Minimum weekly rate
30 June 2023 $4.75 $180.50
30 June 2024 $5.50 $209.00
30 June 2025 $6.25 $237.50
30 June 2026 $7.00 $266.00

For Grade B employees, the minimum full-time and part-time rates of pay are below:

Effective date Minimum hourly rate Minimum weekly rate
30 June 2023 $9.50 $361.00
30 June 2024 $11.00 $418.00
30 June 2025 $12.50 $475.00
30 June 2026 $14.00 $532.00

The Annual Wage Review may affect these rates, which often starts from 1 July. Learn more about this review at Fair Work Commission – Annual Wage Review.

Different rates of pay may apply, for example where an employee is a casual or performs overtime, weekend or public holiday work.

Changes to supported wage assessments

Employees with disability covered by the Award can be paid a supported wage. This is the higher of:

  • a percentage of the minimum hourly rate of pay for their classification based on their productive capacity, or
  • $2.75 per hour.

An employee’s productive capacity is assessed based on their ability to perform their job. This is determined by an approved assessor using an assessment tool outlined in the Award.

From 30 June 2023, the only supported wage assessment tool that can be used under the Award is the Supported Wage System (SWS). All other tools will be removed from the Award.

An employee with disability covered by the Award doesn’t have to be paid a supported wage. An employer can pay an employee with disability the minimum rate for the employee’s classification.

Employees with disability employed at 30 June 2023

From 30 June 2023, there are transitional arrangements about not reducing wages and conducting SWS assessments for employees with disability already employed. These apply to:

  • employees classified into Grade A or B
  • employees assessed under the SWS.

Any employee with disability employed at 30 June 2023, who the SWS applies to but who hasn’t had a SWS wage assessment before that date, will need to have an initial SWS wage assessment done before 30 June 2026. These employees will stay on their current wage rate until the assessment is done. That rate must increase by the same percentage and at the same time as any annual wage review increase to the Grade 2 rate in the Award.

An employer can’t reduce the hourly rate of an employee who was employed at 1 January 2023 as a result of:

  • being classified into Grade A or B by their employer, or
  • having an initial SWS wage assessment conducted between 30 June 2023 and 30 June 2026 that assesses them as having lower capacity.

New employees with disability employed from 30 June 2023

New employees employed from 30 June 2023 will be employed for a trial period of at least 13 weeks but no longer than 26 weeks. The trial should include appropriate induction or training.

During the trial period, an assessment of capacity will be done to determine the employee’s minimum hourly rate of pay. The employee must be paid at least $2.75 per hour for each hour worked in this period.

If the new employee is assessed at a higher rate of pay than $2.75 per hour, their employer must pay them at the higher rate. The higher rate starts 13 weeks after the trial commenced.

Reviewing an assessment

New employees from 30 June 2023

New employees with disability employed from 30 June 2023 will have a review of their wage assessment after 12 months’ service with the employer. Depending on the results of the assessment, their pay rate may be adjusted.

If the employee changes jobs or the processes involved in their work changes, the employer or employee can request a review once every 6 months. This can happen up to a maximum of 4 times every 3 years. Their pay rate may be adjusted as a result.

Existing employees at 30 June 2023

An employee with disability employed at 30 June 2023 who has an initial SWS wage assessment done between 30 June 2023 and 30 June 2026 won’t need to have their assessment reviewed:

  • until 3 years after that assessment,
  • or earlier if there’s a change to their job or work processes and the employee or employer requests a review.

Right to request a review

From 30 June 2023, employees have a right to request a review of their classification. There is also a dispute resolution process outlined in the award if problems arise when reviewing the employees classification. See clause 31.5 and D.5.6 of Schedule D listed in the final determination for details.

Tools and resources

More information