1. To gain especially for the performance of service, labour, or work: earned money by mowing lawns.
2. To acquire or deserve as a result of effort or action: She earned a reputation as a hard worker.
3. To yield as return or profit: a savings account that earns interest on deposited funds.
The fertiliser and the air conditioning are about to meet in relation to the rights of people with disability and the wages they receive when employed in Australian Disability Enterprises (used to be called Business Services before that Sheltered Workshops and before that Activity Centres).
I’m testing my memory but it was about 10 years ago (might be a bit more) that the present system was brought in – a system that required workers to undertake one of a series of available productivity measuring tests and these tests then used to determine wages paid.
There were/are a range of options and service providers get to choose. In previous years many chose a tool called BSWAT – Business Services Wage Assessment Tool.
This is only my memory but at this time there was a lot of discussion between service providers about the need to get a reliable tool and also about the fact that such a tool, if used properly would cause significant financial problems for services as there simply wasn’t sufficient income to pay ‘honestly’ – there’s no suggestion of dishonesty here, simply a belief among some that ruin would follow productivity based wages as there wasn’t enough income and the only way such could be generated would be to unemploy the most needy service users in favour of the most productive.
Don’t buy that – didn’t buy it then, and don’t buy it now – if a person earns a dollar that that’s what he should be paid and not a cent less – he or she earned it.
Believing this to be the case NOVA used a thing called the Supported Wage System (SWS) assessment for workers in our multi award winning Café 64 at Walgett.
And we have lost money ever since!
However, NOVA is a registered charity and we make lots of money from other stuff – the truth is that work isn’t that thick on the ground in Walgett (pop 2200) its drought stricken and has some real socio-economic issues.
Café workers earn (this is a very important word) more than 3 times the average pay for people in sheltered workshops – they earn that money and it’s our job to pay them – if we paid less we’d be borrowing or stealing.
The recent Supreme Court decision means all similar businesses must now pay honest wages – I say honest because I believe that many knew the BSWAT threw up dodgy measurements – and simply gave a nod to honesty while justifying their use of this flawed tool with a ‘what else can we do, they’d all be on the streets if we didn’t’ line that sometimes seems to play well but conceals the truth that many other service providers got on and did the right thing by their clients (about 50%).
While many complained about how unfair and unjust the world is, decent programs made the adjustments and got on with improving conditions and productivity so they could afford to pay honestly.
NOVA workers earn 3 times the National average – I would contend the rest earn a whole lot more too – they are just denied.
Why are they denied?
Because they have a disability (generally an intellectual disability) and because those assigned to care for them can get away with short changing them.
You wouldn’t wear it. I wouldn’t wear it and those folk slaving away for $50 a week shouldn’t have to wear it either.
They deserve better and they deserve better from people like us – it isn’t good enough to make them wait 3 years, it isn’t good enough to make them wait 1 year - I don’t give a tuppeny for the nonsense about not being able to afford to pay people what they have earned – take a look at the definition of earn at the start of this piece – it’s theirs – give it to ‘em
Imagine what would happen if the rights of someone powerful and important were trampled if the response they received from our leaders was, ‘well get to it in a couple of years’!
Employment First – Coming Soon!
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