Improve Your Business

Posted: by Jock McNamara

Employing people with disability goes hand in hand with benefits including increased tenure, fewer absences and improved staff morale. Ensuring your workforce reflects the diversity of society sends a positive message about your business. In addition to these tangible and cultural benefits, a number of financial incentives exist to support businesses in taking the first step in increasing their inclusiveness and diversity.

Workplaces hiring staff aged over 50 for a period of 12 months or more are eligible for up to $10,000 in funds through the Restart Wage Subsidy. Businesses hiring people with disability can also access funds for any workplace modifications necessary for the new employee.

In addition, the Supported Wage System allows employers to pay a productivity-based wage for people with disability that matches their rate of productivity. If the person is independently assessed as not achieving the same productivity as their counterparts, the employer will only have to pay a certain percentage of their wage and the Australian Government will cover the rest.

These subsidies are certainly a great incentive for businesses to consider hiring people with disability, particularly mature age individuals, but hearing about real experiences is even more
powerful.

EPIC Assist recently connected with Ruth Powis, an experienced Social Worker who was facing health challenges impacting her ability to find suitable work.

“A few years ago I was struck down with extremely severe obstructive sleep apnoea and ever-worsening osteoarthritis,” said Ruth. “I had been working all my life and now I could barely get out of bed in the morning, I had to give up work.”

Ruth discovered she was eligible for the Restart wage subsidy and, upon moving to a new town, made the decision to get her life back on track.

“I went to EPIC because I felt, despite my situation, I had much more to give,” said Ruth. “EPIC helped me find a position as a Social Worker at Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council in Ballina, within the Specialist Homelessness Service. I now have my life back and Jali has gained a very experienced Social Worker – we’re all happy!”

Through employing Ruth, Jali received the Restart wage subsidy and accessed funding for workplace modifications required by Ruth. They also gave a very worthy individual an opportunity to improve her life by securing valuable, sustainable work.

None of us know what’s around the corner. This time it was Ruth that needed assistance and reached out to turn her life around but it could be any one of us. It’s nice to know that financial assistance is available for businesses that wish to improve the lives of those that need it most.

For further information, please call 02 6643 4542 or email jock.mcnamara@epicassist.org.

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