Christmas win for employees with disability


17 December 2015

The long-standing BSWAT wage case has been settled, with employees with disability to receive 70% of their backpay.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and the AED Legal Centre have warmly welcomed this decision by the Federal Government and hailed it as a win for employees with disability.

“We would have preferred the Government came to the table a lot sooner, rather than drag this through the courts, but we are pleased to have an outcome which sees wage justice for these employees,” said Samantha French, Manager, Employment and Wage Justice, PWDA.

“While these employees will only get 70% of their backpay, this is better than the 50% the Government was previously offering, and it will be tax free. This money will also not affect Centrelink payments or concessions,” said Ms French.

“PWDA and AED are committed to working with the Government in an open manner, with the interests of people with disability at the centre, to further improve wages for people with disability,” said Kairsty Wilson, Senior Legal Practitioner, AED Legal Centre.

“We encourage supported employees to register under the BSWAT Payment Scheme,” said Ms Wilson.

This decision has no financial impact on Australia Disability Enterprises(ADEs – previously called ‘sheltered workshops’) with the Government providing the funds for the backpay.

“PWDA would like all ADEs to start setting wages using fair wage assessment tools that do not discriminate on the basis of a person’s disability.” said Ms French.

Workers with disability are encouraged to register with the BSWAT Payment Scheme. Contact AED for any help with registration – leave a message on (03) 9639 4333 or email:

BSWAT background
In December 2012, the Full Federal Court ruled that the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) used to set wages for employees with intellectual disability in ADEs was unlawful under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). In May 2013, the High Court of Australia agreed that BSWAT disadvantaged employees with intellectual disability.
Since then, the legal case for fair wages has continued – full background to the case here.

Samantha French, Manager, Employment and Wage Justice, PWDA
0409 029 730

Kairsty Wilson, Senior Legal Practitioner, AED Legal Centre
0411 252 410
Phone: 02 9370 3100 Toll Free: 1800 422 015 Email:

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.

Our vision is of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights, citizenship, contribution, potential and diversity of all people with disability are respected and celebrated.