April 11, 2016 7:30am
reposted from a story published in the adelaide advertiser written by Miles KempThe Advertiser
Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent is calling for low paying sheltered workshops to be phased out. Picture: Mark Brake
DISABILITY advocates have called for the phasing out of the lowest-paying sheltered workshops after a report found they are hindering workers’ moves into mainstream jobs.
Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent said the worst, lowest paid forms of sheltered workshops, which paid workers $2 per hour, should be phased out.
“There’s no place in modern Australia for employment models using the antiquated so-called business services wage assessment tool — paying employees as little as $2 an hour,’’ she said.
“Just because someone gets meaning and purpose from their work, does not mean it’s OK to pay them a pittance.
Ms Vincent’s comments were in response to work by UniSA researchers — supporters of sheltered employment — who interviewed 64 workers for their study which will be published in the journal Social Policy and Administration.
The paper does not support the abolition of sheltered workshops, but states: “The key finding from this study is that being comfortable in sheltered employment does little to help disabled people transition into mainstream jobs’’.
“Placement of disabled people in sheltered employment should not be long term and possibly be discouraged for younger people.”
Co-author of the UniSA study, senior lecturer Dr Elizabeth Hemphill, said it did not support closing sheltered employment.
State manager of National Disability Services Peter Hoppo said it was lobbying MPs about the value of Australian disability enterprises