Direct employment

What is direct employment?

For the state-wide implementation of direct employment commencing in December 2012, the department has defined direct employment to be:

  • where a person has an Individual Support Package that is administered through direct payments and they and/or their nominated person(s) will directly employ support worker(s) using some or all of their funding.

As a direct employer, direct payments users have the choice of who to employ as support workers and how they provide support. This means that the direct payments user will be responsible for all of the legal, financial and human resource management obligations that come with being an employer.

Responsibilities include:

  • advertising, interviewing and selecting the right person to support you
  • negotiating salary and hours of work directly with each support worker consistent with the relevant industrial award
  • training workers so that they know how to safely provide support
  • paying for insurance including public liability and personal accident insurance and WorkCover
  • paying workers the correct amount, regularly and on time
  • handling any concerns with performance/behaviour directly with workers.

Please note: At the present time, the department does not allow direct employers to set up as a business to directly employ staff.

What are the benefits of direct employment?

The department trialled direct employment with 11 Individual Support Package recipients in 2009 and the trial was evaluated in 2010. The evaluation identified a number of benefits for the participants and their family members, including:

  • More control over their lives – participants were able to tailor their support arrangements to suit their lifestyle.
  • Better support – participants had control over the quality of workers they recruited and the hours they worked. They were also able to pay workers at a higher rate and have more say in how the support was provided. Having control over who supported them resulted in improved quality of support.
  • Happier and more dignified lives – participants felt their lives had improved. They felt better about themselves because they had more independence, control, self esteem and flexibility in their lives. Direct employment enables individuals to live in their chosen community with the supports they require.
  • More value for money – funds previously used by a service provider was used by participants to pay for more hours of support, pay workers more or spend on other things.
  • A number of trial participants have generously shared their personal stories about their experiences with direct employment.

How can a person access direct employment?

  • People who have an Individual Support Package and are using direct payments can apply for direct employment by contacting their local departmental office directly or they can apply for direct employment at the next planned review of their Individual Support Package.
  • People who have an Individual Support Package administered through the financial intermediary or a disability service provider can apply for direct employment but this will require a review of their Individual Support Package and a change of funding administration to direct payments.
  • People who have been allocated an Individual Support Package for the first time who are confident they can fulfil the obligations relating to direct employment can nominate to use direct payments and apply for direct employment in their first plan.

When can I start?

To be a direct employer you must:

  • be a direct payment user
  • read and understand information outlining your responsibilities that will be given to you by the department
  • lodge an application
  • be approved by the department to commence direct employment.

How can I find out more information?

If you would like to know more, contact your local Disability Intake and Response and ask to speak to the Direct Employment Contact Officer.

Contact information

Intake and Response Service
Tel:  1800 783 783
TTY: 1800 008 149
Metro & Rural Regions

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