A new labour hire program for people with disability, called LabourIn, is launching at a high demand time of year, just before small to medium businesses start to hire more short-term labour in preparation for the demanding Christmas season.
The aim of the program is to provide valuable experience and skills to people with disability, while also helping businesses hire people without long-term commitments but at a reduced cost due to Government-funded wage subsidies.
For people with disability, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find work or be given a chance in a new career.
Almost half of people with a disability are unemployed, and for those with autism, the rate of unemployment is three times higher than the general rate of people with disability and six times higher than the rate of people without disability.
In Australia, there are 20,000 people with disability participating in supported employment, however, most are in ‘sheltered workshops’ doing packaging, light manufacturing, cleaning and landscaping, and generally receive an average hourly wage of $5.61.
LabourIn, a program by AimBig Disability Employment Services, believes the program helps improve the bottom line of businesses while making a difference to someone deserving and providing them with a standard wage.
AimBig Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Marcella Romero, says the new program is a win-win for the community.
“Small and medium businesses can face a lot of stress needing to hire people for short-term work at the last minute and often don’t budget for additional head count,” says Ms Romero.
“Thanks to subsidies, this program enables them to hire qualified people at an extremely affordable rate.
“A typical labour hire company will generally charge $35 or more per hour, whereas our rate can be less than 50% of this, while paying the employee the standard hourly rate, at a minimum.”
The subsidies funding is for six month periods per individual and LabourIn believes it allows businesses to employ people with a disability with minimal risk.
“They may have considered doing so but have been unable to commit to something long-term. They may also be worried about a placement not working out and fear having to terminate the employment of a person with disability,” says Ms Romero.
“LabourIn enables them to give it a go for the short-term. They also don’t need to worry about paperwork linked to hiring a person, we take care of all that. We also have the flexibility to incorporate specific training requirements for individual businesses.
“We are initially concentrating on employment in retail, hospitality or businesses with warehouse requirements for roles such as retail sales or back office, warehouse packing, office admin, cleaning and hospitality.”
The program is for people with all types of disability, including people with intellectual disabilities, autism or down syndrome.
Participants will receive training so they are ready for wherever they are placed and to fulfil the requirements of their job from the get go.
Ms Romero says, “For people living with a disability, having a labour hire firm that specifically understands their challenges, and can support them with training, can really be the difference required in a successful job placement.
“Short-term placements also enable our candidates to experience a range of different positions and discover what they like and their strengths - all while getting paid a standard hourly rate.
“You will not get more enthusiastic, loyal or passionate employees!”
Ms Romero adds that the LabourIn program wants to change community attitudes towards hiring people with disability and encourage businesses to think bigger when making hiring decisions.
To find out more about the initiative, head to the AimBig Disability Employment Services website.