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NSW disability group back-pays employees $370k

NSW disability group back-pays employees $370k

Posted by Phillip Camela.

21 July 2017

By Jamie McKinnell, Australian Associated Press

The Fair Work Ombudsman found Challenge Community Services placed the workers on pro-rata rates based on skills assessments after it classified them as having a disability even though they were not eligible for Commonwealth pensions.

The largest individual underpayment was of $63,000 to a worker in his 50s who received as little as $8.82 an hour.

The employees were aged between 17 and 64 when they were short-changed on wages and superannuation over six years.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Mark Scully said on Friday the non-profit had paid back $371,876.

It fully co-operated with the audit and entered into an enforceable undertaking with the watchdog to ensure no future mistakes are made.

"This matter serves as a good reminder to operators in this sector to ensure they are complying with workplace laws," Mr Scully said in a statement.

"(It) highlights the accountability and responsibility required of employers engaged with vulnerable workers such as those with a disability."

Challenge Community Services, which was formed 60 years ago, is one of the largest disability service organisations in NSW and supports more than 2500 people.

Its services include sewing, laundry, waste recycling and document scanning in Tamworth, Muswellbrook and Narrabri.

The organisation said it discovered the "inadvertent" and incorrect classifications after another employee asked for a wage review in early 2016.

The 18 staff members previously received a pension but it was removed after a government review, and neither the government nor employees had an obligation to notify Challenge of the change.

"Challenge reviewed all of its employees and is confident there are no other discrepancies and all staff are correctly classified," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

The organisation also noted a number of the employees receive NDIS funding.

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
Applying for a payment under the BSWAT Payment Scheme

Applying for a payment under the BSWAT Payment Scheme

Posted by Phillip Camela.

BSWAT PAYMENT SCHEME - APPLY NOW!
 
People who work/have worked at ADEs and were assessed using the BSWAT may be entitled to a payment through the BSWAT Payment Scheme.

If you or a family member have registered under the BSWAT Payment Scheme by 30 April 2017 you can now apply for a payment.

You can read the latest information about the BSWAT Payment Scheme and how to apply here: http://us15.campaign-archive1.com/…

You must apply by 30 November 2017 or you will miss out.

Can advocacy organisations assist in this process? Please check the attached list of ADEs that have used the BSWAT.

* Do you know people who work, or have worked, in one of these ADEs?

* Are any of the workers your current clients or past clients?

* Are you able to speak to, or visit, any of your closest ADEs to ask the workers if they have registered AND applied?

Here is a list of ADEs that used the BSWAT by State and Territory: www.wagejustice.org.au/…/ADEs-that-used-the-BSWAT-by-State-…

Have you received an offer of payment by the Department of Social Services under the BSWAT PAYMENT SCHEME?

If you have, AED Legal Centre can give you free legal advice on the payment offer. All you need to do is call us on (03) 9639 4333 and leave a message or contact noni.lord@aed.org.au

 

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
BSWAT Payment Scheme (1)

BSWAT Payment Scheme (1)

Posted by Phillip Camela.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION

People who work/have worked at ADEs and were assessed using the BSWAT may be entitled to a payment through the BSWAT Payment Scheme. They have to register by April 30th or they will miss out. Here is a list of ADEs that used the BSWAT by State and Territory: www.wagejustice.org.au/…/ADEs-that-used-the-BSWAT-by-State-…
Can advocacy organisations please check the list.
* Do you know people who work, or have worked, in one of these ADEs?...
* Are any of the workers your current clients or past clients?
* Are they part of a Self - Advocacy group or peer support group that your organisation supports?
* Are you able to speak to, or visit, any of your closest ADEs to ask the workers if they have registered?

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
NDIS Appeals Program

NDIS Appeals Program

Posted by Kairsty Wilson.

NDIS APPEALS PROGRAM
We are pleased to announce that AED Legal Centre has received a grant from the Department of Social Services under the NDIS Appeals Program. The grant provides funding to assist applicants to navigate the process of seeking an Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) review of National Disability Insurance Agency decisions. Activities will include preparing documents, attending conferences and hearings. AED will assist clients who have concerns about their individual plans, including funding levels, and are seeking a review.

Kairsty Wilson Legal Manager


Kairsty Wilson Posted by Kairsty Wilson.
People must register for the BSWAT Payment Scheme by 30 April 2017

People must register for the BSWAT Payment Scheme by 30 April 2017

Posted by Phillip Camela.

Thousands of people with intellectual impairment could be entitled to a one-off payment through the Australian Government’s BSWAT Payment Scheme if they register by 30 April 2017. People could get a payment of $100 or more.

The BSWAT Payment Scheme is for around 10,000 eligible supported employees of Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) who had their pro-rata wages or training wages worked out using the BSWAT and have an intellectual impairment. They must have worked for at least one day in the period starting on 1 January 2004 and ending on 28 May 2014.

Now that the Federal Court has approved the settlement of the BSWAT class action, the scheme is the only way for class action members to receive a payment.

To apply for a payment, people must register with the scheme by 30 April 2017. It’s quick and easy to register using this online form. Or, people can call 1800 799 515 or send an email.

Important: If people don’t register by 30 April 2017, they cannot apply for a payment – even if they may be eligible.

The Department of Social Services recently wrote to people who may be eligible for a payment. The letter included a payment application form and reply-paid envelope.

Potentially eligible people can complete the payment application form, put it in the reply-paid envelope, and post it as soon as possible so we receive their form by 30 April 2017. By completing the form, the Department will automatically register them for the scheme as well as process their application for a payment.

If a person is not ready to apply, they can register for the scheme by 30 April 2017. They then have until 30 November 2017 to apply for a payment. It's quick and easy to register for the scheme using this online form. Or, people can call 1800 799 515 or send an email.  

People can ask someone they trust to help them to register and apply. This could be a family member, advocate, nominee or someone in their ADE.

If you know someone who could be eligible, please tell them about the scheme and encourage them to register by 30 April 2017!

For more information visit www.dss.gov.au/bswat. Here, people can find an Easy Read Handbook, resources for supporters, the payment application form, information about financial counselling and legal advice, and more.

Phillip Camela Posted by Phillip Camela.
IMPORTANT UPDATE - BSWAT CLASS ACTION

IMPORTANT UPDATE - BSWAT CLASS ACTION

Important Update on BSWAT Class Action
Maurice and Blackburn Lawyers,

The Class Action was made on behalf of supported employees with intellectual disability, who had their wages assessed using the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) between 1 January 2004 and 28 May 2014.
This is the last chance for class members to have a say about this important legal case. A special session of the Federal Court is being held, where the Judge is expected to make a decision abo...ut the settlement. Class members may attend the special session taking place on 12 December, at the Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building in Melbourne CBD.
Regardless of the outcome of the Class Action, supported employees with intellectual disability, affected by this case should still register for the BSWAT Payment Scheme.

If class members are happy to be involved in the case and they agree with the settlement, they are not required to do anything.

Class members who are not happy with the settlement, or do not want to be a part of the Class Action, you need to notify one of the following by 7 December 2016.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers:
T: 1800 654 990
The Federal Court of Australia:
T: 03 8600 3333

Failure to make reasonable adjustments for employee with disability cost employer over $170k

Failure to make reasonable adjustments for employee with disability cost employer over $170k

19 July 2015

Article by Louise Rumble and James True

Marque Lawyers

The Federal Circuit Court has ruled that Corrective Services NSW unlawfully discriminated against Caryn Huntley, an employee, who suffered from Crohn'sDisease and idiopathic hypersomnolanceby failing to make "reasonable adjustments".

While the Court found a number of flaws in Corrective Services NSW's handling of the medical condition and subsequent termination, it focussed on the employer's obligations around "reasonable adjustments". Suffering the disease and sleep disorder ("disabilities" for the purposes of disability discrimination legislation), Ms Huntley had provided medical evidence to the employer regarding her ability to perform her role which, relevantly, included some travel.

The Court found the employer had misinterpreted that evidence when it determined Ms Huntley should be medically retired because she was unable to travel for more than 30 minutes. On the contrary, that medical evidence asserted Ms Huntley could take trips greater than 30 minutes, so long as she was able to take a break along the way. A reasonable adjustment to make?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (Act) provides that an employer will not have unlawfully discriminated against an employee if, because of the disability, the employee would be unable to carry out the inherent requirements of the job even if the employer made reasonable adjustments for that employee. Under the Act, an adjustment is reasonable unless making it would impose an unjustifiable hardship on the employer.

So, did Corrective Services NSW make reasonable adjustments? Basing its decision on the fact the employer had misinterpreted the medical evidence presented by Ms Huntley, had considered the condition an "illness" rather than a "disability" (the latter meaning the disability discrimination legislation was relevant) and subsequently terminated the employment, the Court said no.

Corrective Services NSW had failed to: consider the inherent requirements of the role; consider any reasonable adjustments that could be made to assist the employee to perform the inherent requirements; and implement those adjustments. Relevantly, the employer was ordered to pay compensation for pain and suffering and breach of contract to the tune of over $170k plus interest.

Lessons learned: employers ought to carefully consider whether an employee's illness or medical condition is a "disability" and, if so, take steps to comply with the obligations which arise from the disability discrimination legislation. A failure to do so could be costly.

We do not disclaim anything about this article. We're quite proud of it really.

 

 

 

NDIS Appeals Flowchart

NDIS Appeals Flowchart

AED Legal Centre is currently providing assistance to NDIS participants who are seeking a review of an NDIS decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

For more information about this service please contact AED Legal Centre, Suite 4 Level 9, 276 Flinders Street, Melbourne, 3000.

Ph:(03) 9639 4333 or email noni.lord@aed.org.au

(03) 9639 4333

Suite 4 Level 9
276 Flinders St
Melbourne 3000

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