Policy Submission: National Disability Employment Framework to boost employment rates for people with disability
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JFA Purple Orange submitted this policy paper to the Disability Employment Taskforce on the national public consultation on a National Disability Employment Framework to boost employment rates for people with disability.
In preparing this submission, we surveyed people living with disability and significant others about employment outcomes for people living with disability. Respondents participated in our research via an online survey, one-to-one conversations and focus groups. More than ninety people provided feedback, of which, 44 per cent self-identified as living with disability; 29.5 per cent as a family member, friend or supporter of a person living with disability; 22.7 per cent as a paid support worker or volunteer, and; 3.5 per cent as an employment service provider.
JFA Purple Orange recommends the following based as being supportive of successful employment for people living with disability
That the Government establish a levy for employers who do not achieve diversity targets in their workplace, accompanied by tax incentives, paid to employers who demonstrate notable practice in advancing employment participation of people living with disability.
That the Government implement measures that counteract disincentives and risks associated with loss of the income as a result of the interaction between wages and disability support regulations. Examples could be to extend the period for which people could retain the Pensioner Concession Card after they obtain employment; and a guarantee that the Disability Support Pension would recommence if a person’s working hours drops below the 30 hour/ week cut off. These measures may seek to improve material capital for the person living with disability and remove the risks associated with perceived financial disincentives.
That the Government invest in community initiative schemes in partnership with industry leadership bodies and community or philanthropic bodies interested in advancing employment participation. One example of this is Inclusion Alberta’s Rotary Employment Partnership.
That the Government commission an analysis of successful Disability Employment Services, such as Jobsupport38, to identify key features that can then be set as performance measures for all such agencies.
That the Government implement an awareness and education campaign directed toward the community, and business (specifically employers, employer networks and industry bodies, using communication methods familiar to the business world) in relation to dispelling stigma about employment of people living with disability, and eliminating discrimination. This campaign should extend over a period of four to five years. Suggested strategies include:
- Targeted marketing campaign (television/social media/print media) showing the diversity and value of employing people living with disability
- Showcasing people living with disability sharing their employment story
- Showcasing businesses via a national recognition program
- Working with industry associations to explore employment opportunities in different sectors.
That the Government explore options with businesses in the open employment market to decrease the number of people living with disability who are employed in ADEs. If the top 20,000 Australian businesses took on just one person currently employed in an ADE, there would no longer be a need for ADEs, and instead, 20,000 Australians living with disability could finally have a chance to earn a living wage.
That funding for disability employment services be commensurate with the capacity to provide ongoing job support for people living with disability who are engaged in employment.
That the Government consider the opportunities and options provided through a framework such as The Model of Citizenhood Support, which employs strategies and actions to facilitate choice, participation and autonomy. The Model provides a comprehensive contextual framework for organising policy and practice in support of improving life chances for people living with disability, including in relation to employment: a living wage increases Material Capital (increased income), Social Capital (increased social opportunities and support), Knowledge Capital (increased knowledge and understanding of the issues associated with living with disability), and Personal Capital (a positive self-view through having a valued role in the community).