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Upcoming changes to the SCHADS Award

The Social, Community, Home Care, and Disability Services (SCHADS) Award covers many fields from social workers, those who work in community development, youth work, recreation, disability services, family day care centres and many more.

That’s why it is one of the most complex Modern Awards in Australia.

The Fair Work Commission has completed its 4 yearly review of this Award and announced quite a few changes on the way that take effect 1 July 2022.

Firstly, lets get clear on how the Award defines who is covered by this Award…it is broken up into these 4 sectors:

  • Crisis Assistance and Supported Housing

  • Social & Community Services

  • Home Care

  • Family Day Care

In summary, here are the changes you need to know about…(for more detail watch the replay of our webinar here)

1. Guaranteed hours for Part Time staff

The first change is all about Part Time staff and their entitlement to guaranteed hours (or a regular amount of hours each week). If you employ Part Time staff, you may already have a regular roster for them, but this change to the Award requests that you put this in writing, for example:

“Hours per week will be 21 and working days will include Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday beginning at 9am and concluding at 4:30pm each day”

In this Award, interestingly different to most, if a Part Time staff member agrees to work additional hours over their guaranteed hours amount, they are paid at ordinary hours, not overtime (except when overtime applies – for example when they have worked more than 38hrs in the week).

And the final thing about this change is that if the frequency of working additional hours becomes regular over at least a 12 month period, the employee has the right to request that you increase their guaranteed hours to reflect the increased amount. You can refuse this on reasonable business grounds if that applies.

2. Minimum engagement periods

One of the biggest changes here has been the change to minimum engagement/payment periods. See below the change relating to those working in the Home Care classification specifically:

Previously, this only related to Casual staff but from 1 July 2022, this will now impact Part Time staff also.

This means that when rostering staff working in the Home Care field, shifts should be a minimum of 2hrs. Where this can’t happen, the minimum pay for attending the shift would be 2hrs in this case. See here the rules for broken shifts.

There are transitional arrangements in place if you had an existing written agreement in place with your employee before 1 Feb 2022, watch our webinar for more information.

3. Broken shifts

There have been numerous changes in relation to broken shifts specifically. A broken shift is where there are 2 or more periods of work in a day with unpaid gaps in between (other than unpaid meal break). Although there are breaks between, the SCHADS Award defines this as a broken shift.

The same minimum engagement periods as above apply to these type of shifts. But not just the entire day, they apply to each period of work in the broken shift.

Similarly, shift penalties (e.g. night shift) can apply to each period of work in the broken shift, rather than basing this assessment of when the entire broken shift is worked.

In fact, “night shift” by definition is usually a shift that ends after 12 midnight OR begins before 6am (Monday – Friday). However, for broken shifts only this definition differs slightly in that only the “ends after 12 midnight” applies here.

There is also a change to the amount of periods that can be included. Moving forward, it can only be 2 periods of work, or 3 by agreement.

4. Client cancellations

Currently the Award only talks about provisions for client cancellations for those working in the Home Care field, but moving forward those classified under SACS for Disability Services work specifically will now also fall under these conditions.

Currently, a shift can be cancelled so long as you give the employee notice at least by 5pm the day prior to the shift. Moving forward this is changing to 7 days notice required. So this may change client processes or rostering. You do have options though if you are unable to give the employee 7 days notice.

5. Remote work

Remember working from home during COVID lockdowns? Well, for some organisations remote working has remained in place in some capacities. This brand new clause provides entitlements when an employee is working or on-call remotely. On call allowance will be payable.

Rest assured, the on-call provisions isn’t changing. But what makes these two definitions different is that “on-call” is when an employee can be called back to the physical workplace, whereas “remote work” is where an employee is on-call and/or performs work from anywhere else (e.g. their home).

Different minimum engagement/payment periods apply to remote work specifically, different to what’s discussed previously. And different pay rates apply for remote work depending on when the work occurred.

6. 24 hour care shifts

There has been a clearer specification added of what the employee needs to be supplied with with working a 24 hour care shift in a client’s residence. Not just a bed, they also need clean linen as well as food and drink and the right to sleep for a continuous 8 hour period.

The employee also has the right to refuse more than 8 hours work over that 24 hour shift, but if they do agree overtime or time-off-in-lieu applies.

If you employ staff across any of these industries, you will want to be across all these changes to be sure you are paying your staff correctly. If you want more information, why not watch the replay of our webinar here

Do you have a questions? Are you now wondering how to implement these changes in your organisation, book in a FREE chat with one of our consultants and let’s discuss how we can help you ensure your organisation remains compliant.

Disclaimer: All information or advice included in this blog and on this website is general in nature and has been developed as a starting point for your business and should be tailored according to your specific requirements. It should not be considered legal advice. We have made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and currency of this information at the time of publishing, however are subject to change. For specific advice relating to your business, please contact us.

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