Another perspective on the importance of employment is driven by the Government’s focus on reducing the number of people on DSP, as well as improving chances of employment for PWD. The OECD report in 2010, Sickness, Disability and Work – Breaking the Barriers – A synthesis of 27 countries provides some perspective to this. The concept of moving passive welfare to active welfare e.g. the focus moving from disability to ability through review of work capacity is all good, as the Australian Government is doing. It has to be balanced by more opportunities from employers of work, incentives must be considered. Currently, The Australian Government seems only focused on one side of the equation.
If an NDIS type insurance approach is applied i.e. lifetime costing. The Government can delay future health costs occurring by providing a calculated incentivisation $ awards to employers. Research has been done which shows the importance of some work form socialization and motivation, all of which keeps people healthier for longer.
The new disability employment system being discussed talks about moving individuals to the centre of the system, as opposed to DES being the centre of the current system. As employment needs both the individual ready for work, and an employer ready to offer a job for PWD. I would argue individuals and employers need to be at the heart of the new system.
It makes operational sense for disability employment services to be added to the disability services funded through the NDIS. The NDIS mechanism can be used to provide funding to the individual to buy the employment services from DES,. As with disability services, this should lead to improved and different employment services market. Equally, there are also tier two people with disabilities who are not eligible for NDIS funding, these would need funding, as well, possible through Centrelink or some other route.
The totally, new and different issue is how employers can be given funding to allow them to buy services from DES to support employing new hires with disability, developing staff with disability and keeping staff who acquire disability while their working.
Equally, the other question is how one incentivizes employers to employ more PWD, whether new hires, existing PWD’s including PWAD’s. Whether, as Bill Moss suggested it could be a reduced tax if targets or levels can be achieved. The view that 15% is realistically a maximum, so maybe targets could be 5% or 10%, or a sliding scale.
Posted by Mark Glascodine