This information is only relevant to employers and employees in the WA state industrial relations system – sole traders, unincorporated partnerships, unincorporated trusts and some incorporated or not for profit organisations. Find out more on the Guide to who is in the WA state system page.
If you operate or are employed by a Pty Ltd business – you can find information on this topic on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
In the context of this page, an employee with a disability means an employee whose productive capacity has been assessed under the Supported Wage System (SWS) or a supported wage industrial instrument provision (SWIIP) as being reduced because of a disability.
The SWS is the scheme established by the Commonwealth Government to enable the assessment of whether, and the extent to which, a person’s productive capacity is reduced because of a disability.
SWIIPs may provide for the SWS or another wage assessment tool.
Employees assessed under the Supported Wage System
Eligible employees may have their productive capacity assessed under the SWS if they are award free, or if they are covered by a WA award or agreement which contains a SWIIP which incorporates the SWS.
An independent SWS assessment is conducted in accordance with the Commonwealth Government SWS parameters. The SWS Handbook explains the parameters and the process.
The assessment of an employee with a disability under the SWS will determine the employee’s level of productive capacity to perform their particular role.
An employee whose productive capacity has been assessed under the SWS as being reduced because of a disability:
- may be paid a wage that corresponds to their assessed productive capacity; and
- cannot be paid less than the minimum weekly payment, regardless of the number of hours worked by the employee. The minimum weekly payment is currently $95 per week (from 1 July 2022).
An employee who is employed for a trial period for the purpose of an assessment under the SWS must also be paid the minimum weekly payment.
Not all employees are entitled to the minimum payment of $95 each week. Employees are not entitled to this minimum payment if:
- they are covered by a WA award or agreement that does not have SWS provisions
- their disability does not affect their work capacity
- they are employed in a supported employment service.
The minimum weekly payment is set each year by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission as part of the annual State Wage Case. The amount must be the same as the amount set by the Fair Work Commission each year in the National Minimum Wage Order.
Employees assessed under an alternative wage assessment tool
Some employees may be covered by a WA award or agreement which includes a SWIIP that incorporates a wage assessment tool other than the SWS. Employees in this situation may be paid based on their productive capacity as assessed in accordance with the SWIIP. This may be less than the minimum wage which would otherwise apply under the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act or the award or agreement.
Maintaining employment records
An employer must keep the following employment records in relation to the employee:
- any agreement entered into under the SWS or SWIIP by the employer and employee; and
- any other document required to be kept by the SWS or SWIIP relating to the determination of a wage for the employee.
An employer must also, as soon as possible, lodge with the Registrar of the WAIRC, a copy of any agreement entered into under the SWS that is required to be kept by the employer.
Other minimum employment conditions
An employee with a disability is entitled to other minimum conditions of employment in the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act, a WA award or an agreement, in accordance with relevant eligibility requirements applicable to all employees.