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What are Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (“BSWAT”) payments?


business services wage assessment tool payments

Under an Act of parliament which was active between 2004 and 2015, many Australian Disability Enterprise employers (that is, businesses who employed people with a disability), paid workers a reduced wage.

The formula for calculating the rates of pay allowed the wages to be reduced to take account of both a worker’s productivity level and comprehension level.

After Federal Court action, it was found that the reduction of the wages due to the comprehension level was discrimination against those workers and the reduction due to reduced productivity was not discrimination.

As a result, the Government agreed to provide compensation for the wages that were underpaid in a discriminatory manner.

This settlement has been facilitated by the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Act ("BSWAT Act") 2015 and the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Regulations (BSWAT Regulations) 2015.

What was the practical effect of the Act?

Under the terms of the settlement, the Government agreed to pay workers employed under the BSWAT scheme a lump sum back payment of 70% of what their wages would have been if the comprehension test had not been applied.

Whilst workers are not being offered their full entitlement, the 70% settlement figure has a lot of advantages. For example, it’s a quick payment that does not require workers to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees fighting the Government in the courts.

In addition to the settlement monies offered under the payment scheme, the Government has also agreed to provide additional funding for legal advice and, for those that receive offers of more than $1,000, financial counselling.

What does this mean for many workers with a disability?

This means that those that receive offers under the scheme can get free legal advice about the offer.

Berrill & Watson Lawyers are registered to provide Government funded legal advice about BSWAT payments.

If you or one of your friends or family receives an offer under the BSWAT Scheme and would like to access some Government funded legal advice, please get in touch.

Today’s blog writer is Berrill & Watson Principal, Tom Cobban; another Super lawyer.

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