Employees with disability pay rates

The Supported Wage System (SWS) applies to employees who have a reduced work capacity because they have a disability. You can use our Pay Calculator to calculate pay rates for employees who are on a supported wage.

The Department of Social Services gives information and advice on who is eligible for the SWS and accepts applications or deals with disputes. An employer who is considering the SWS should visit the JobAccess website.external-icon.png

When can a supported wage be paid?

If an employee is covered by an award or registered agreement, supported wage can only be paid if the award or agreement has SWS provisions, the employee is eligible and the employer has applied to the Department of Social Services.

An employee with disability can be paid a percentage of the relevant minimum rate, based on their assessed work capacity. For example, someone with an assessed work capacity of 70% will get 70% of the classification in the award or registered agreement. Only a qualified assessor can conduct this assessment.

Employees cannot be paid less than $82 per week.

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

If an employee’s disability doesn't affect the way they can do their job, they're not covered by the SWS and get the full pay rate.

Employees can work a trial period for the SWS. During the trial period, the employee's capacity is assessed by a qualified assessor. Employees still have to be paid at least $82 per week for the trial period. 

What about award and agreement free employees?

If an employee isn't covered by an award or registered agreement, their minimum pay rate is set by the national minimum wage.

An employee with disability can be paid a percentage of the national minimum wage, based on their assessed work capacity. For example, someone with a work capacity of 70% will get 70% of the national minimum wage. Only a qualified assessor can conduct this assessment.

Employees cannot be paid less than $82 per week.

Think a mistake might have been made?

Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.

Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:

  • figuring out if a mistake has been made
  • talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
  • getting help from us if you can't resolve it.

What to do next

Help for small business

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