COVID-19 Concerns for Disability Workers: Survey

"Feeling unsafe and unprepared" 2341 disability workers were surveyed as part of a joint union and UNSW study which has highlighted areas of concern including fragmentation of service provision, under-resourcing, lack of management support at the frontline, low pay, poor job security, multiple job holding, high workloads and unpaid work.

The survey was co-designed prior to the pandemic in Australia by the Australian Services Union, Health Services Union, United Workers Union with the UNSW Research Team.

Thank you to all ASU members who completed the survey.

Many workers used the survey to describe the significant issues and challenges they faced in the context of COVID-19:

  • Urgent lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Inadequate safety protocols of disability organisations
  • The Disability workforce being dangerously overlooked in pandemic response
  • Dangers of day programs and community access activities remaining in operation/group homes remaining open to other workers delivering NDIS services
  • Disruption to clients’ routines and activities, which has created additional risks to client wellbeing and safety.
  • Workforce issues and additional workloads have made it difficult to respond to heightened health and safety needs, causing anxiety among workers
  • Lost jobs or shifts and uncertainty about the future of work
  • Workers inability to effectively self-isolate, and the financial impacts of doing so.

Read the full report here.


SBS News: 'Dangerously unprepared': Disability workers feeling unsafe during COVID-19 pandemic

7News: Disability staff ‘had to ask other houses for hand sanitiser’

Canberra Times: Disability staff feel unsafe amid COVID-19