Australia & New Zealand: Workers with disabilities reportedly being acutely underpaid, some receiving only $1 an hour

Media reports cite employees with disabilities in Australia and New Zealand are being paid as little as $1 an hour. Rights groups say that the practice breaches international law and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Reports are linked below.

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Article
5 August 2018

Employees with disabilities paid [AUD]$1 an hour

Author: Michael Smith, Front Page Report

31 July 2018

Thousands of employees with disabilities in Australia are being paid as little as [AUD]$1 an hour.

This breaches international law and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, lawyer groups say.

It’s also contributing to issues such as poverty and depression, disability advocates say.

...The consultation looked at the employment and conditions of 20,000 people with disabilities in “Australian Disability Enterprises”, which operate in a range of industries, including hospitality, catering, retail, horticulture, packaging, manufacturing, recycling and cleaning services.

A government discussion paper confirms wages range from [AUD]$1 an hour to full award wages....

...“The Australian enterprises do not comply with international law and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),” AED Legal Centre says...

...ALHR said the wages are “unacceptable and in violation of international law, domestic law and basic standards of human dignity and decency”, in its submission.

...“Moreover, there is strong evidence that demonstrates that women with disabilities bear a disproportionate burden of poverty and that women employed with disabilities experience significant and systemic discrimination.....”

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia, in its submission, said:...“We are concerned that Australian Government continues to inaccurately view supported employment...as compatible with its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”...

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Article
4 August 2018

'Is this exploitation?' - pay for workers with disabilities a 'real minefield' for government

Author: TVNZ

27 July 2018

...[S]ome disabled workers were getting paid under [NZ]$1 an hour.

In the last three years, 1500 minimum wage exemptions have been granted by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment for businesses that employ disabled people...more than two-thirds of those workers are paid less than [NZ]$5 an hour for their work.

...[T]he minimum wage in New Zealand is [NZ]$16.50.

One employee, who has Down syndrome and works in community service was being paid 89c.

Video of the report can be viewed here.

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