May 10, 2023

Dodgy disability providers put ‘on notice’ to pay workers properly

disability worker
Most disability workers receive more money than those in aged care, even with the recent 15% pay rise awarded to some aged care workers. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key Points:

  • Complaints have been made to unions about some disability service providers paying staff incorrectly and under their award, allegedly paying full-time support workers as home care staff to pocket the remaining funding
  • The minimum rate is approximately $30 for a permanent disability support worker per hour and $38 for a casual support worker
  • The Government funds the wages paid through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Health unions are putting disability providers “on notice” as concerns grow around disability workers leaving the sector to work in aged care.

Earlier this week, disability providers, unions and advocacy groups raised concerns that the 15% pay rise in aged care confirmed during last night’s Federal Budget will push employees to leave the disability sector for what they see as a better wage.

But health services unions have said that the disability service providers who are scared of this are likely not paying their staff correctly as concerns have been raised around providers underpaying workers to pocket a profit.

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations Chief Executive, Ross Joyce, told The Australian the pay rise “does create an issue for a slide across for people in disability support, who might think ‘that’s looking rather good, that’s getting the wage to where I should be’,”.

“As with aged care, in disability support work the wages do need a lift. It will be curious to see what the Disability Royal Commission says on that.”

Similar concerns were also raised by health unions over the aged care pay rise with some workers reporting that their providers are rushing to lock them into new Enterprise Agreements – offering wage increases that won’t pass on the full amount of additional funding allocated to cover a 15% wage increase for aged care workers.

But the pay rate for most disability workers is higher than aged care wages, even with the 15% pay increase. This still poses a risk for disability workers segueing into aged care, but not because the funds aren’t there.

The problem occurs when disability support workers feel like they are underpaid because the aged care rates might be more attractive for them.

“We are aware that there is a big problem with many disability workers not being paid properly and, in some cases, deliberately being underpaid by dodgy providers who have tried to pay them less than aged care rates,” explained Australian Services Union Secretary, Angus McFarland. 

“We are putting all providers on notice -if you’re not paying your workers the correct rate of pay the minimum rate for disability workers,  we will be reporting them to the NDIA fraud squad.”

Reforms to the disability sector are expected out of the Dis­ability Royal Commission in September and the NDIS review in October with predictions indicating more support workers will be needed.

NDIS Minister, Bill Shorten, said he was pleased with the outcome for the aged care wage rise and would “continue being committed towards the best outcomes for NDIS workers”.

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  1. I work as a carer for 3 hours a week for a lady in her house she is on a Level 3 Home Care program how much is the minimum new rate

  2. I’ve been working for 3 years as disability support worker. I have had relevant cert 3 since I started but am only on schads level 1.3 casual $32.17 hr. I do mostly personal cares for high intensity quad client, bowel therapy, physio, shower ..etc. Also do some community access for other participants. All up around 27 hrs per week. The company tells me the highest rate paid by them is level 1.3!

  3. I’ve been working with a company since feb this year I’ve been getting paid 29.89 an hour during the week it’s now July 4th I work on the Sunshine Coast I was to get a rise after 3 months of working for the company that never happened I gave them my cert 3 in disability and still nothing what do you suggest I do ? Please

  4. Extremely disappointed to not have received the 15% pay rise!
    Are we not all aware that many people with disabilities are of older aged and the level of care required equals if not more, than working in an aged care facility?

    All support workers well and truly earn their money –

    Support them, so they can continue to support others, otherwise the government will have other issues on hand!

    Disgruntled? Absolutely!

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