Supported Wage System (SWS)

The SWS is set up for employees with disability who are not able to perform jobs at the same capacity as any other employee. Under SWS, special workplace arrangements are created so that employers can pay wages to a person with disability based on how productive they are in their job.

There are two versions of the SWS – one in open employment, and a modified version that is used under the Supported Employment Services Award. There are separate Handbooks (linked below) for each version of the SWS.

If you make an application for SWS, your employee with disability will need to have a SWS assessment from a qualified assessor.

The assessment will:

  • be done with the employer, employee with disability and the Employment Services provider (if relevant) and nominee (if the employee has one) at a time that suits everyone, and
  • happen on an employee's regular work day when they are doing their usual job.

The assessor will look at information such as the employee's job description, time spent on each duty, hours and days worked, break times and the level of supervision required.

The assessor will also make sure that any modifications that the employee needs to do their job are in place.

To be eligible for SWS you must

  • be an Australian citizen or a person resident in Australia whose continued presence is not subject to a time limit imposed by Australian law (e.g. a temporary visa)
  • be at least 15 years of age
  • have no outstanding workers’ compensation claim against the current employer
  • meet the impairment criteria for the Disability Support Pension (DSP), as confirmed with Centrelink
  • ensure the job under consideration is covered by an industrial instrument or legislative provision that permits employment under the SWS provisions
  • check that the job being offered is for a minimum of eight hours per week (note this only applies if the employee is in open employment).

If you are a new employee, your employer or service provider may make an application.

The Supported Wage System Application process

Learning Modules for supported employment services

The Department has developed a set of five eLearning modules to assist employers in understanding the modified SWS under the Supported Employment Services Award. The modules are easy to follow and contain resources that may assist employers. Click on the following links to access the eLearning modules.

For more information about the SWS refer to the SWS Handbook and Assessment Guidelines, or contact the Department of Social Services Assessment Team on 1800 065 123 or speak to a JobAccess Adviser on 1800 464 800.

Last updated: