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Wage subsidy

Wage Subsidies are available for employers who take on a Disability Employment Services (DES) jobseeker.

Employers can negotiate a wage subsidy with a DES provider to hire a new employee. The employer must agree that the employment arrangement will continue for the period required by the relevant wage subsidy criteria. Payments are made by DES providers to employers after the employer has met these criteria, and provided proof of employment.

Employers should contact a DES provider for more information on eligibility criteria.

Employer responsibilities

Employers may be able to receive a wage subsidy if they:

  • have an Australian Business Number
  • have not previously received a Government funded wage subsidy for the same person or job
  • are not receiving another government wage subsidy for the same person or job
  • are not an Australian, state or territory government agency

Employers are required to pay all wages and meet all other entitlements for their employee as required by state or federal law and include payments such as superannuation, tax, insurance costs and work health and safety requirements.

How do employers access wage subsidies?

Employers must negotiate the payment of wage subsidies directly with a DES provider. Wage subsidies must be arranged prior to commencing the new employee, and can only be paid if the employer has signed a wage subsidy agreement with the DES provider.

Wage subsidies are paid to eligible employers only after receiving verification of employment and the wage payments to the employee.

Employers are required to maintain appropriate documentation to support the wage subsidy arrangement.

How much is paid?

This will depend on the wage subsidy program and the negotiated amount agreed to, based on the program criteria, the individual circumstances of the jobseeker and the employer’s needs.

  • The Wage Subsidy Scheme provides up to $1,650 (inclusive of GST) for jobs of at least eight hours per week, over 13 weeks.
  • Wage Start provides up to $6,000 (inclusive of GST) for jobs of at least 15 hours per week, over 26 weeks.
  • Restart provides up to $10,000 (inclusive of GST) for jobs of at least 20 hours per week, over 26 weeks

For example, the maximum amount available through the Restart wage subsidy is $10,000, however, this may be reduced depending on the work capacity of the jobseeker, the employment tenure (full-time or part-time), and the duration of employment.

Do all jobs for people with disability attract a wage subsidy?

Not all jobs attract a wage subsidy. It is up to the individual service provider to determine when a wage subsidy is appropriate and the level of the wage subsidy available depending on the jobseeker’s and employer’s needs.

In some instances, an employer will be ineligible for a wage subsidy. Some common exclusions are:

  • Job is not under an industrial agreement: for example, contract, piece-rate work or self employment, or
  • jobs where the employer is an immediate family member.

Other less common exclusion criteria may also apply.

How do service providers gain reimbursement of wage subsidies?

Reimbursement is paid to employment service providers in arrears, after they have paid the employer and have the necessary documentary evidence to show payment to the employer, and the minimum employment requirements have been met.

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