Human Resources

University Policy on Supported Wage System

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
HR Services - Human Resources
Date Approved
Revised 19/05/2015
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Supported Wage System (SWS) Employees

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy covers the criteria, trial and assessment, employment and entitlements of individuals who cannot work at full capacity due to a disability. Potential employees under this scheme are assessed for eligibility for employment under the Supported Wage System (SWS) by the Commonwealth Government.

This Policy does not apply to Academic or Casual staff.


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

"Employee" means a person employed by the University who has an ongoing or fixed term contract under the terms of the Professional and General Staff Agreement (as amended or replaced from time to time).

"Supported wage system (SWS)" means the Commonwealth Government system to promote employment for people who cannot work at full award wage rates due to a disability.

"SWS assessor" means a person selected by the Supported Wage Management Unit (SWMU) established by the Commonwealth Government to perform assessments of an individual's productive capacity within the SWS.

"University" means The University of Western Australia.

Policy statement:

The University is committed to actively promoting and improving employment opportunities for individuals with a disability.

1 Eligibility

1.1 SWS employees must:

  • meet the impairment criteria for receipt of the Disability Support Pension;
  • be an Australian Citizen or an Australian Permanent Resident;
  • be 15 years of age or older;
  • have no workers' compensation claims outstanding against the current employer; and
  • be able to work at least 8 hours per week.

1.2 The presence of a disability in itself does not justify a pro-rata wage. The SWS conducts an assessment which evaluates the individual's productive capacity and determines the appropriate rate of pay. The process provides a method to assess the productivity of the individual against satisfactory performance levels of co-workers without a disability, who are undertaking the same, or similar, tasks or duties in the workplace.

1.3 The productivity capacity for the SWS can only be determined by assessment of the performance of a particular individual in a particular job. It is not intended to be used for short term contracts, temporary jobs or for jobs in which the core duties and tasks often change.

1.4 The effective date of the Wage Assessment Agreement (Agreement) is after the assessment period, and will be the date the Agreement is signed by the employer, the individual and the SWS assessor.

2 Assessment Period

2.1 A paid assessment period of up to 12 weeks will apply.

2.1.1 During the assessment period the salary paid to the individual is to be an agreed rate negotiated with the individual (or their nominee), and the University. The agreed amount must be no less than the SWS weekly rate applicable at that time, as determined by the Commonwealth Government.

2.1.2 Specialised on-the-job training should be provided to individuals during the assessment period, who must be given adequate time to reach optimal performance before a wage assessment is conducted.

2.2 The assessment period can be reduced once adequate training has been given. The assessment period is deemed completed when an assessment productivity percentage (%), or wage assessment, has been conducted and the outcome is agreed by the parties.

3 Assessment Productivity Percentage (%) or Wage Assessment

3.1 The agreed wage assessment will determine the percentage of prescribed salary rate. For example, if the capacity is assessed at 50% they will be paid 50% of the prescribed salary, i.e. of Level 1, Step 1. The higher the assessed capacity the higher the percentage.

3.2 Where a SWS assessed capacity is 50%, they will receive a high degree of assistance and support, and this will decrease according to the increase in percentage of assessed capacity.

3.3 The wage assessment is organised and carried out by the work area. Costs relating to the initial assessment and any subsequent reviews conducted by the SWS assessor, will be paid by the Commonwealth Government.

3.4 The assessment of a SWS employee must be reviewed annually, by the work area and the SWS assessor. This is to re-examine the work undertaken and the current level of productivity. On the basis of the review, the parties (i.e. SWS employee, work area and SWS assessor) will re-assess the percentage of the full wage paid to the SWS employee and either agree to retain or amend the current assessed wage rate being paid.

4 Employment

4.1 After the assessment period, and following a successful trial and probation period, the University may decide to enter into a fixed-term contract or convert the individual to ongoing employment without advertisement. The term of the appointment should be based on work area requirements.

4.2 When the University and the individual elect to establish a continuing employment relationship, a University contract of employment will be entered into.

4.3 The salary will be based on the assessment productivity percentage (%) as previously determined by the SWS assessor at the first step of the Level 1 salary range.

4.4 Subject to satisfactory performance, SWS employees will proceed by annual increment through the salary range of Level 1, to the maximum of that range.

4.5 A work area employing an individual under the SWS, is required to take reasonable steps to make any necessary changes in the workplace to enhance their capacity to carry out the duties of the job effectively. Changes may involve re-design of position duties, working time arrangements and work organisation in consultation with other workers in the area. The Commonwealth Government reimburses employers (through the SWS) for the cost of special equipment or adjustments that may be needed.

5 Entitlements

5.1 Individuals with a disability, who access the SWS, retain the same employment conditions as their co-workers employed under the University's Professional and General Staff Agreement.

5.2 Superannuation will be paid in accordance with the Professional and General Staff Agreement at the relevant Superannuation Guarantee Contribution rate.

5.3 SWS employees will be paid the assessed capacity percentage of the minimum rate for the classification level of the position they occupy, provided that the minimum amount payable is not less than the amount directed by the Commonwealth Government.


- Contact Human Resources ( Equity and Diversity) to outline and discuss work area requirements.

- Human Resources (Equity and Diversity) will contact Government Agency providers to source suitable candidate/s.

- The appropriate provider will make contact with the work area to arrange an on-site meeting.

- The work area must complete an Online Requisition form through eRecruitment for the total period of the initial employment, and supply supporting documentation once placement/s are confirmed.

- The work area must ensure a workplace assessment occurs annually.

Related forms:

Recommendation to Offer New Employment Contract

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Equity and Diversity

Related Policies or legislation:

Professional and General Staff Agreement

Professional and General Staff Agreement 2010

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