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Education and Employment

New survey of disability workers finds poor workforce conditions

man in wheelchair is working with computer in office.

Findings from a survey of more than 2300 disability workers released today shows that the current workforce conditions under the NDIS serve to undermine the capacity of the workforce to provide quality support to people with disabilities.

Commissioned by the Health Services Union (HSU), United Workers Union (UWU) and Australian Services Union (ASU), the research report by the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre highlights the lived experience of the workforce operating under the NDIS.

Key findings from the report are:

  • Many workers expressed concern about the NDIS with only just over a quarter believing it provided quality support for participants. Only 1 in 5 workers agreed the NDIS had been a positive experience for them as a worker.
  • Working time arrangements contributed to much concern for workers, over half work less than full time across multiple jobs, most reported doing vital tasks in unpaid time and many report constant shift changes and unstable rostering arrangements.
  • Many report dissatisfaction with low pay rates and significant periods of unpaid work. Workers are rarely paid for travel time between clients and many are not reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred in the course of their work.
  • Workers report a lack of supervision, which was reinforced by respondents who were supervisors advising they have too many people to supervise effectively.
  • Many workers report a lack of access to training and training is rarely provided in paid time.

Each of the three unions have provided a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme outlining ways to improve working conditions for the disability workforce.

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