Casualisation of the Disability Support Workforce


Edmen CSS: Casualisation of the Disability Support Workforce: Why is this happening?

18 April, 2017

Edmen CSS: Casualisation of the Disability Support Workforce: Why is this happening?

Another great insight from Edmen Community Staffing Solutions Business Manager - Adam Hunt. In this article Adam looks at the Casualisation of the Disability Support Workforce and why this is an increasing concept in the sector. 

With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) by the Australian government, the disability sector has seen an increase in demand for a casual workforce. Although this is not a new concept to the industry, this growth in casual staff will continue to expand exponentially. Lets explore why…

Individual’s choice

Alongside the implementation of the NDIS, with its aim to provide recipients with an individualised, person centred approach to all consumers, the NDIS now supports “people with disability to build skills and capability so they can participate in the community and employment” (NDIS) and match interests with support workers and consumers. With this individualised nature of the sector, the result has been to hire casualised staff to assist with this new structure.


One benefit to both employees (support workers) and disability service providers with the new era of the NDIS and casualised workforce is flexibility. For Disability Services Providers, casual employment provides the advantage of flexibility which in turn allows these organisations to be more adaptable “to suit consumers’ preferences, as people with disability exercise choice to get the particular supports they want to meet their individual lifestyles, aspirations and needs” (The Conversation).

Workforce demographics

In an article by National Disability Practitioners and Workforce Wizards shows that in 2015 “37 per cent of direct support workers were employed as casuals” with the rates being much higher in women and young people. For employees, the benefit of flexibility can be seen for Disability Support Practitioners to have the opportunity to study as well fitting work around their lifestyles and develop a work-life balance. Not only are these changes being seen across support worker employment arrangements, but also in their day to day interactions under a person centred approach.

Among other industries, health care and social assistance sit in the top three with “retail trade (19 per cent), accommodation and food services (19 per cent) and health care and social assistance (10 per cent). The share of casual workers of other industry sectors is considerably smaller, often less than 5 per cent” (Parliament of Australia).

In summation, although a casualised workforce is not a new concept, it is certainly going to become a part of the changing nature of the sector and does provide a more beneficial solution under the NDIS. Having a casualised workforce means Service Providers can upscale and downscale business quickly. That's all part of becoming a competitive consumer focused businesses rather than remaining charitable institutions!


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