Over 2000 frontline disability workers have had taken part in the biggest survey ever of disability support workers.
It's clear that while support workers are essential - they're not being listened to. That means the NDIS isn't the best it can be.
The survey shows that frontline workers are fed up with low pay, insecure work and needing to do unpaid hours just to get the work done.
The research report by UNSW Social Policy Research Centre commissioned by the ASU and other NDIS unions presents the findings from a survey of more than 2300 disability workers about their experiences at the frontline of disability services.
Key findings from the report:
- Many workers expressed concern about the NDIS, with only just over a quarter believing it provided quality support for participants. Only 1 in 5 workers agreed the NDIS had been a positive experience for them as a worker.
- Over half of respondents work less than full time hours across multiple jobs, reporting doing vital tasks in unpaid time and constant shift changes and unstable rostering arrangements contributing to concern.
- Many report dissatisfaction with low pay rates and significant periods of unpaid work. Workers are rarely paid for travel time between clients and many are not reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred in the course of their work.
- Workers report a lack of supervision, which was reinforced by respondents who were supervisors advising they have too many people to supervise effectively.
- Many workers report a lack of access to training and training is rarely provided in paid time.
A previous analysis of the survey responses focused on the NDIS sector's response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The results of this wide-ranging survey highlight the importance of secure jobs, regular and predictable hours and income, training, and supervision.
As the disability union we're calling for a COVID care allowance, paid pandemic leave, better training and better wages for our frontline disability support workers.
Our frontline workers deserve to be safe, respected and valued.
Listen to ASU Secretary Natalie Lang on ABC radio discussing the survey results.