Some people (having lives) spend their weekends doing fun stuff. Others, old, boring and friendless, spend their spare time checking out stuff that interests them professionally.
I have a particular interest in the employment of people with disability and this includes asking the fundamental question as to whether 1: they are worth hiring; and 2: whether their labour requires subsidy.
I believe that the answers (in order) are ‘yes’ and ‘no’
So a paper by Erik Samoy and Lina Waterplas; “Designing wage subsidies for people with disabilities, as exemplified by the case of Flanders (Belgium)” caught my attention.
On hiring people with disability:
“An interesting finding is that 34% of hiring employers declared that the outcome exceeded their expectations, the main reasons being that the worker performed better than expected and had a positive influence on the work of colleagues, and sick leave was lower than expected”.
This fits with my world view and with my firm belief that provided a good match between aspiration, ability and opportunity occurs is achieved, the contribution of workers who have a disability will often exceed that of their non-disabled peers.
The paper referenced above specifically looks at whether wage subsidy works and if that’s the case, what the scheme should look like.
Let’s look at the present situation in Australia:
1. Generous subsidies are available
2. The market for Disability Employment Service providers is cut throat with an oft repeated theme from the funding body: perform or lose market share/contract.
3. A ‘for profit’ component has been introduced
4. The ‘compliance’ framework has been strengthened (+risk of losing benefits)
Does that impact upon people with disability?
I believe that it crterates an environment in which subsidised employment, set for minimum funding body requirements (8hrs a week X 26 weeks) becomes the norm. This is not in the interests of people with disability.
In the reference cited above (I note this is NOT an Australian study) employers are clearly happy – however, that happiness in not universal:
“Although employees were happy to be in work, it was found that they often held low paid and low-skilled odd jobs for which they were sometimes overqualified. Interviewees reported negative consequences on their self-esteem and relationship with colleagues, loss of entitlement to unemployment benefits and conflicts over pay rate. The author concludes that scheme participants rather held the status of social clients than of employees and were in danger of being marginalised within employment”. Hohnen (2001)
In other words, workers with disability are stigmatised by the practice of discounting their labour.
Routinely offering subsidies as a means of inducing employers to hire creates an environment in which the product - their contribution - is seen as inferior and therefore requiring discount. This in turn reduces the range of available opportunities, leading to placement in lower skilled positions.
As I learned many years ago, subsidy money doesn’t matter: if the person can’t do the job no subsidy is sufficient and, if they can, why should the work of people with disability be discounted?
Why aren’t people with disability more frequently employed?
“The evidence suggests that price variables may be even less important for job offers to disabled people than they are in the labour market in general. Among other factors likely to influence employer’s hiring decisions, Mangan cites “uncertainty, discrimination (by themselves or in deference to other employees or customers), or economically-rational considerations of wage productivity”
So employers will be more likely to hire when they become educated about the contribution and capacity of people with disability. Workers who have a disability will be less discriminated against when their bosses and co-workers are encouraged to focus on ability.
What’s needed here is a campaign that doesn’t focus on discounting but rather on the facts that workers with disability in suitable roles are as productive as their non-disabled peers and do not place an additional burden on their employers or colleagues.
Take a look at this video and see for yourselves how disability can disappear: http://www.focusonability.com.au/FOA/films/Jamess_Story_680.html
Hohnen, P. (2001). “When work is like a gift. An analysis of new forms of exclusion on the Danish labour market”. The Open Labour Market Working Paper 11:2001. Copenhagen: The Danish National Institute of Social Research. Market Working Paper 11:2001. Copenhagen: The Danish National Institute of Social Research.
Mangan, J: 1990: Wage Subsidies for the disabled: a discussion of their impact in Australia. International Journal of Manpower,p211.
Samoy, E. & Waterplas, L: “Designing wage subsidies for people with disabilities, as exemplified by the case of Flanders (Belgium)” ALTER, European Journal of Disability Research 6 (2012) 94–109.
Would you like a face-to-face meeting with Martin via Skype? Click the button below to make an appointment
Subscribe to this Blog - blog.novaemployment.com.au Copy the link above and paste it into your favourite Reader to subscribe to an RSS feed of this blog. To watch a short video explanation of RSS and how it helps you save time reading the web click here
Your Comments There are currently no comments on this article
I'm giving fair warning of my intention to expose examples of the current DES-ESS contract's exploitation.
I have written to the Commonwealth expressing my concerns about clear manipulation of the present contract....
The new contract for Disability Employment Services (DES) will not bring performance improvement.
Government will scratch it's head, blame the economy, blame people with disability, talk about educating employers and spend money on consultations before coming to the conclusion that people with disability must meet more stringent 'mutual obligations'....
Each year, around about the International Day of People with a Disability (IDPwD) NOVA Employment holds a formal graduation for students that have participated in our pre-employment programs....
Profiting from poverty
Profiting from Poverty
I am genuinely horrified by this disaster: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/02/the-demerit-system-is-ruthless-social-policy-designed-to-keep-the-poor-powerless
I believe that we presently represent the job hopes of around 1500 people, in various stages of their progression to independent employment....
New Contract but no change!
New Contract but no change!
Today marks the first day of a new Disability Employment Service (DES) contract.
There are new players and new rules....
'It's nice to be busy' and 'busy is better than idle' and all of my mum's other sayings about work being good for you, and all of them said; we're drowning!
The administrative burden of a new Disability Employment Service contract (starts July 1st) and the mountains of paperwork required for an NDIS dollar (approximately 10X that of the former TTW program) has seen us add 3 extra staff to the admin team and we are still receiving a large volume of enquiries that are causing us some time delay in getting back to folk....
Podcasts I've been learning all about Podcasts (I suspect that this may be a long road!)
However, getting paid to be inspired is not the worst way to spend a Monday afternoon and that is just how my day has gone....
I am truly fortunate to work with the very best people in this great nation and we are truly lucky to be part of the best short film festival this side of anywhere!
"Focusonability" voting starts today and there is an even larger number of films (287) than last year....
On the money Sometime over the next week a new Disability Employment Service contract will be announced.
We are moving into a new world of greater consumer choice and greater mobility of job seekers....
Making a tough job tougher!
Making a tough job tougher
It isnt easy to get a decent job and its harder to do so if you have a disability.
NOVA employs around 190 people, an effective and experienced team who are able to draw upon a staff of highly skilled trainers and a support program honed over almost 30 years and tens of thousands of participants....
Your Work There was never any doubt in my mind that I would work. My dad told me I would work and there wasn't ever a suggestion that my future held an alternative option....
Not so bad! Taken from: Today's Guardian at 4.09pm Tuesday 7th November 2017:
In a world full of discouragement there’s always a space for good news....
The NDIS mantra is 'choice and control'
To be valuable, choice needs to be informed.
Average Sydney Disability Employment Services placement rates are 34....
It's voting time at "Focusonability" - with a record number of films entered, a tremendous effort by more than 100 High Schools and 19 countries competing in the International section it was always going to be a hard job to pick a winner....
Choice & Control
The NDIS slogans around choice and control demonstrate the importance of consumer involvement in both the choice and control of supports they need.
However, in order to be valuable, choice needs to be informed by accurate data such is this: http://www....
Last week (14-16) it was my privilege to attend the 1st World Supported Employment Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"Employment for All - A Global Perspective" brought workers from around the globe (primarily Europe) to discuss best practice in supported employment....
Quality and the Stars Quality and the Stars
There have probably been few people more openly critical of the Disability Employment Service (DES) Star Ratings than me.
The Stars, ranging from 1 to 5 are supposed to give some insight into whether a service is a poor or high performing program....
Attended the Disability Employment Australia (DEA) forum in Canberra. THis is a regular get together that offers disability employment services tha chance to be kept up to date from our funding body and also listed to expert speakers on topics associated with the goal of seeing as many people as possible find and keep suitable employment....
NOVAs greatest asset is its staff. I suspect you would struggle to find the CEO of any organisation state their staff are not vital and at the core of business reputation and results....
A corner turned?
We are presently holding events to promote employment for people with disability - nor surprise there, that's our job.
What has been a surprise is the willingness of employers to come along and listen and more importantly, to consider adopting inclusive employment practices across their organisations....