Department of Health Enterprise Agreement 2016-2019

Attachment C - Supported wage system (SWS)

Page last updated: 28 January 2016

C.1 This schedule defines the conditions which will apply to employees who because of the effects of a disability are eligible for a supported wage under the terms of this agreement.

C.2 In this schedule:

Approved assessor means a person accredited by the management unit established by the Commonwealth under the SWS to perform assessments of an individual’s productive capacity within the SWS.

Assessment instrument means the tool provided for under the SWS that records the assessment of the productive capacity of the person to be employed under the SWS.

Disability Support Pension means the Commonwealth Government pension scheme to provide income security for persons with a disability as provided under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth), as amended from time to time, or any successor to that scheme.

Relevant minimum wage means the minimum wage prescribed in this agreement for the class of work for which an employee is engaged.

Supported Wage System (SWS) means the Commonwealth Government system to promote employment for people who cannot work at full wages because of a disability, as documented in the SWS Handbook. The Handbook is available from the JobAccess website (

SWS wage assessment agreement means the document in the form required by the Department of Employment that records the employee’s productive capacity and agreed wage rate.

C.3 Eligibility criteria

C.3.1 Employees covered by this schedule will be those who are unable to perform the range of duties to the competence level required within the class for which the employee is engaged under this agreement, because of the effects of a disability on their productive capacity and who meet the impairment criteria for receipt of a disability support pension.

C.3.2 The schedule does not apply to any existing employee who has a claim against the employer which is subject to the provisions of workers compensation legislation or any provision of this agreement relating to the rehabilitation of employees who are injured in the course of their employment.

C.4 Supported wage rates

C.4.1 Employees to whom this clause applies shall be paid the applicable percentage of the relevant minimum wage according to the following schedule:

Assessed capacity % of prescribed rate
10% 10%
20% 20%
30% 30%
40% 40%
50% 50%
60% 60%
70% 70%
80% 80%
90% 90%

C.4.2 Provided that the minimum amount payable must be not less than $81 per week.

C.4.3 Where an employee’s assessed capacity is 10 per cent; they must receive a high degree of assistance and support.

C.5 Assessment of capacity

C.5.1 For the purposes of establishing the percentage of the relevant minimum wage, the productive capacity of the employee will be assessed in accordance with the SWS by an approved assessor, having consulted the employer and the employee, and if the employee so desires, a union which the employee is eligible to join.

C.5.2 Assessment made under this schedule must be documented in a SWS wage assessment agreement, and retained by the employer as a time and wages record in accordance with the Act.

C.6 Lodgement of SWS wage assessment agreement

C.6.1 All SWS wage assessment agreements under the conditions of this schedule, including the appropriate percentage of the relevant minimum wage to be paid to the employee, must be lodged by the employer with the Fair Work Commission.

C.6.2 All SWS wage assessment agreements must be agreed and signed by the employee and employer parties to the assessment. Where a union, which has an interest in the agreement, is not a party to the assessment, the assessment will be referred by the Fair Work Commission to the union by certified mail and the agreement will take effect unless an objection is notified to the Fair Work Commission within 10 working days.

C.7 Review of assessment

The assessment of the applicable percentage should be subject to annual review or more frequent review on the basis of a reasonable request for such a review. The process of review must be in accordance with the procedures for assessing capacity under the support wage system.

C.8 Other terms and conditions of employment

Where an assessment has been made, the applicable percentage will apply to the relevant wage rate only.

Employees covered by the provisions of the schedule will be entitled to the same terms and conditions of employment as all other workers covered by this agreement paid on a pro-rata basis.

C.9 Workplace adjustment

An employer wishing to employ a person under the provisions of this schedule must take reasonable steps to make changes in the workplace to enhance the employee’s capacity to do the job. Changes may involve redesign of job duties, working time arrangements and work organisation in consultation with other workers in the area.

C.10 Trial Period

C.10.1 In order for an adequate assessment of the employee’s capacity to be made, an employer may employ a person under the provisions of this schedule for a Trial Period not exceeding 12 weeks, except that in some cases additional work adjustment time (not exceeding four weeks) may be needed.

C.10.2 During that Trial Period the assessment of capacity will be undertaken and the percentage of the relevant minimum wage for a continuing employment relationship will be determined.

C.10.3 The minimum amount payable to the employee during the Trial Period must be no less than $81 per week.

C.10.4 Work trials should include induction or training as appropriate to the job being trialled.

C.10.5 Where the employer and employee wish to establish a continuing employment relationship following the completion of the Trial Period, a further contract of employment will be entered into based on the outcome of assessment under clause C.5.