"Collective unconsciousness can be so vast that even the most global societal policies may be undeclared, unexplicated, unacknowledged, and even denied. Thus for many people to all work toward a bad thing requires no deliberate or conscious conspiracy" - Wolfensberger 2007
Do Wage subsidies work?
We might hope that were so, after all, the Commonwealth Government spend a small fortune subsidising the wage cost of folk from a variety of disadvantaged groups. However, there's not a whole load of research to suggest a subsidy is of genuine benefit to the person concerned and I will come back to the argument that, for people with disability, ineffective use of wage subsidy can be a damaging experience.
First of all, some recent research (1):
"In this study, we investigate an employer-side wage subsidy targeted at the long-term unemployed in Germany. The program's objective is to increase exit rates from unemployment to employment and to induce stable employment relationships for the economically disadvantaged target group. Using a large administrative data we assess the effectiveness of the program by estimating the impact of subsidy eligibility on employment outcomes.
We exploit the eligibility criterion of the program in conjunction with an RDD approach to investigate whether or not the availability of the subsidy is beneficial for the target group. Individuals just below the 12-month unemployment threshold are used as control group reflecting the hypothetical situation of non-existence of the government support. Given our large sample sizes around the cut-off point we can estimate the effect locally and obtain new results on subsidy effectiveness. We do not find any significant impact on employment outcomes. The possibility for firms to reduce wage cost by hiring preferably the long-term unemployed does not affect their exit rates out of unemployment. Furthermore, we find no substantial improvement on employment stability for those individuals due to the subsidy program"
The St. Gallen study, the most recent I could find, had a large sample size and suggests little to no benefit on the long term prospects of the subsidised employee.
I would argue that for people with disability the effect of wage subsidy is worse, creating a culture within the workspace that suggests, in Australian terms, 'nothing for nothing' - if a worker's wages are subsidised (and our funding body has created an environment that positively rewards fully purchased outcomes) then the only reason that makes any real sense is that this is because a person with a disability is inherently worth less.
Could wage subsides do harm?
Wolfensberger argues (above and '2' ) that it possible for well-intentioned big powerful groups to 'wound''smaller groups through deliberate action. Amongst the 21 possible classes of wounds are 'object of pity' and 'burden of charity'. I believe that the heavy promotion of wage subsidy linked to disability both spreads and perpetuates a view that it is only by off-setting the cost of a person's disability that they might become attractive or even acceptable to an employer.
Subsidies are not needed. NOVA's Richmond outlet under the stewardship of Selina Macarthur achieved a 12 month no use of subsidies, no job losses record while meeting every KPI required by both NOVA and our funding body.
Do wage subsidies reflect a world view?
If Australians believe that there is, 'nothing for nothing' then could it be that the persons responsible for program guidelines concerning people with disability also believe that such persons have little or no real worth to employers.
Maybe, but the facts argue differently. Statistically people with disability are as productive or more productive that their non-disabled peers, they take less sick time and are only as likely or even less likely than their non-disabled peers to make Workplace Health & Safety claims.
NOVA employs a large number of people with disability and I can categorically state they are amongst our most productive employees. We don't need a subsidy to appreciate their talent and neither should anyone else - educate on ability and contribution and not at sale or discount prices.
1. Schnemann, B., Lechner, M., & Wunsch, C.: "Do Long-term Unemployed Workers Benefit from Targeted Wage Subsidies?" July 2011 Discussion Paper no. 2011-26 School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen
2. Wolfensberger, W. 1991: 'A brief introduction to Social Role Valorization as a high-order concept for structuring human services'. Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership and Change Agentry (Syracuse University Syracuse, NY:).
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
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....
Say No to Quotas!
The pernicious idea that 'quota's' might be the solution for disability employment continue:
Faced with the daunting task of improving the number of employment outcomes with out sacrificing the quality of service delivered to people with disability how have we fared (sort of Year in Review II)?
The number of placements made has seriously improved - up 31% in 2015 and a further 14% in 2016, NOVA operates at at rate of placement better than 150% over 2014!
Whats really exciting is that this has been achieved without compromising on the level of disability that can be supported by NOVA's teams (if anything this has risen)....
Famous last words!
O.K. - sorry that you need to cut and paste: http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/100-million-payday-for-1anhour-staff-with-disabilities-20161216-gtcius....
Not sure if this will be my last blog post for 2016 but just in case, a quick look back at 2016:
Best ever year for total number of placements
Best ever year for long term employment outcomes
Best ever year for Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Best ever year for Transition to Work outcomes
Best ever year for media coverage
Best ever year for 'Focusonability'
Best ever year for Transition to Work (TTW)
How about 2017?
Looking good, so stay in touch and have a terrific holiday, be safe and hopefully Santa will bring you all that you wish for....
Choice is only of value when it's informed (written about this here previously)
I have the numbers for disability employment services (DES-ESS) up till 30th June this year and I am delighted to see that NOVA is responsible for almost 25% of all employment lasting 6 months or more (28 providers) and almost as many as next 2 providers combined....
The NDIS held out hope and promise to people with a disability, the opportunity to exercise choice and control and was heralded as the answer to the prayers of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens....
Latest 'Stars' The effectiveness of Australian Disability Employment Services is recognised through a system called the 'Star Ratings'.
6 years ago NOVA was amongst the lower performing providers in Sydney, at least as measured through the Star's,
Regular readers will be aware of my unhappiness with things that I think are important to people with disability - stuff like, wages earned, hours worked etc....
Best Show on TV Morning All
Sorry you need to cut and paste: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/802326595536/focus-on-ability-film-festival-2016
Best show on TV - bar none and, if you want to skip my bit I get off at 3:10 and you can get straight to some of the truly terrific films from this year's "Focusonability" short film festival....
Reform There is a review of Disability Employment Services and presently consideration is being given to what might best replace the current program.
NOVA needs you - come and join us
NOVA needs You!!
Wednesday 2nd November
Short notice (so really appreciate sharing) and we are holding an information session for potential new workers in a variety of roles within NOVA....
Yet again! Somewhere there is a definition of lunacy that runs along the lines of 'lunacy is when you do something the same way and expect a different result'
Today some of Australia's disability employment services will learn whether they will be allowed to continue to deliver their programs or whether they are to be replaced....
According to today's radio around 3 million Australians are living in poverty. The majority rely upon Centrelink (Australia's welfare services hub) to provide the majority of their income although many are also in small hour part time work....
Congratulations to my team for their terrific results for September, a month in which the NOVA staff placed more people into open employment - thats a job just like yours and mine - than at any previous period in our 27 year history
What an exciting time to be working in Disability Employment Services!
Demand exceeds supply (we are advertising for job seekers) and more and more smart business owners are seeing the value of people with disability as a routine part of their hiring decisions and processes....