Becoming a Responsible Employer

Employing your own staff has many benefits:

  • You can employ staff who are the right fit for your son or daughter – similar interests, personality and the right skills.
  • You can get greater stability and consistency of support workers so your son or daughter doesn’t have a stream of different workers coming through the door.
  • You can save money and invest what you have saved into things like training.  This is because when you are paying an external agency you are paying their rent, electricity, IT systems and the like.  When you self employ your staff you don’t need to pay for those things.

For our family, the greatest benefit of self managing our son Isaac’s NDIS plan has been the ability to recruit and manage the right staff.  Being in charge of our own staff has led to great leaps in achieving Isaac’s goals for a good life. In the past, planning and building a good life for him has been made frustratingly difficult by not having the right supports.  He has such great potential for work, being a friend, being a housemate, being a community volunteer and more but to make that happen we needed support staff with a specific skill set, values, interests, personality and commitment.

Before the NDIS we were forced to use an agency to provide support workers for Isaac.  Their support workers were often students wanting to make a bit of money to survive student life.  Just as Isaac started to get to know them and have some predictability in his life their timetables changed and they would become unavailable.   When new staff began working with Isaac we would be lucky to get a single shift handover before they were stripping Isaac off to get into the shower.  They would also invariably be completely inappropriate – not the right skill set, too old, no shared interests and so on.  Isaac would be subjected to stripping naked in front of people he couldn’t relate to or communicate with, with whom he had nothing in common and didn’t like who disappeared at the end of semester.  Sending a 54 year old woman to support Isaac to hang out at the local pub to listen to a live band was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was an unacceptable life for us all.

We were worried about how much work that would be. But the thought of eliminating the frustrations of working with hopelessly mismatched support workers and giving Isaac back his dignity and some predictability in his life helped us to be brave and give it a go.  At least this work would be positive work where we were actually empowered to make Isaac’s life better.  We learned how to:

  • Obtain an Australian Business Number – ABN
  • Apply for a Tax File Number
  • Register for PAYG withholding & BAS Statements
  • Obtain insurances – Public liability & workers compensation insurance
  • Develop a Policy Manual
  • Understand which Modern Award to use to pay our staff under and ensure we were familiar with other working conditions under the award.
  • Do checks on Working With Vulnerable People Cards, Vehicle Insurance and Drivers Licence.
  • Write Employee Contracts

One of the Directors of Microboards Australia – Darryl Edwards – has many many years experience of running his own business and employing staff and Sheree has experience of employing her own support staff with NDIS funding.  So we have put together a mentoring package for families on how they can employ their own staff which can be paid for using NDIS funding.  Contact Us for further details.