Supported Employment Services Award pay rates

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

Included are changes to:

  • minimum rates
  • classifications
  • supported wage assessments.

Who the changes apply to

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

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

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

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

For more information on:

Employees not covered by the SES 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.

These rates also increased from 1 July 2023 as part of the Annual Wage Review.

New classifications

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

Grades A and B 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 $5.02 per hour from the first pay period starting on or after 1 July 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 $10.05 per hour from the first pay period starting on or after 1 July 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 also changed from 30 June 2023.

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

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.

Our Classification guide for the Supported Employment Services Award Classification guide for the Supported Employment Services Award will help you classify your employees.

Employers should tell an employee what their classification is.

Our Template for writing an Easy Read letter will help you explain classifications, supported wage assessments, and pay to your employees.

You can find current rates of pay including penalty rates, allowances and casual rates of pay by using our Pay and Conditions Tool.

Transitional rates of pay for Grades A and B

The minimum rates of pay for Grade A and B employees will increase each year until 30 June 2026.

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

Effective date Minimum hourly rate Minimum weekly rate
1 July 2023 $5.02 $190.90
30 June 2024 $5.82 $221.00
30 June 2025 $6.61 $251.20
30 June 2026 $7.40 $281.30

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

Effective date Minimum hourly rate Minimum weekly rate
1 July 2023 $10.05 $381.80
30 June 2024 $11.63 $442.00
30 June 2025 $13.22 $502.30
30 June 2026 $14.81 $562.60

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 SES 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
  • $2.90 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 SES Award.

The only supported wage assessment tool that can be used under the SES Award is the Supported Wage System (SWS). All other tools have been removed from the SES Award.

An employee with disability covered by the SES 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 didn't have 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 after 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 $2.90 per hour for each hour worked in this period.

If the new employee is assessed at a higher rate of pay than $2.90 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

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