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Upcoming changes to the SCHADS Award

From 1 July 2022, several key changes to the SCHADS Award are set to take effect.

As a part of the latest wage increase review several key changes are set to take effect from the first full payroll period on or after 1 July 2022. As we are seeing a shortage of disability workers making headlines at the moment, it is extremely important that working conditions and pay rates are accurate to attract and maintain disability support workers.

The Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award, also known as the SCHADS Award, has been in effect since 2010 and covers a wide range of disability services nationwide. Upon its four-yearly review, the Fair Work Commission has made several changes that will most likely effect how organisations roster shifts, and it is very important to review these changes to ascertain how it may affect your current agreements with clients.

Key changes to the SCHADS Award

Several key changes to clauses will apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2022, including:

  • Clause 10: Types of employment
  • Clause 15: Minimum weekly wages for the social and community services employees and crisis accommodation employees
  • Clause 20: Allowances
  • Clause 25: Ordinary hours of work and rostering
  • Clause 28: Overtime
  • Clause 29: Shiftwork
  • Clause 31: Annual leave

Minimum shift length for disability services workers

Most organisation will charge for NDIS support per hour, and one of the main changes to the SCHADS Award is that there is now minimum engagement periods for part-time and casual employees. Employers are now required to roster these types of disability support workers for shifts that last a minimum of two (2) hours.

To assist employers, there will be a transitional period up to 1 October 2022 to allow for negotiations and changes to shifts.

Broken shifts

The Fair Work Commission has decided to go ahead and reward workers extra for broken shifts, which are defined as a shift within a 12-hour period that includes one or more breaks, not including meal breaks.

From 1 July 2022, employees will be paid the applicable loading rate only for the hours of the broken shift. For example, If an employee performs work on a broken shift from 6am to 10am (being the first period of work) and then from 1pm to 4pm (the second period of work), the afternoon shift allowance will be payable on the second period of work only.

Workers will be paid an additional loading of 1.7% of the basic rate for the first broken shift and 2.25% of the basic rate for any subsequent broken shifts. The definition of night shift has also been updated to mean any shift which finishes after 12-midnight and before 6am.

Sleepover shifts

Clause 25.7 (c) which relates to sleepover shifts has been amended to include an addition of clean linen to be provided. The amendment is as follows: The span for a sleepover will be a continuous period of 8 hours. Employees will be provided with a separate room with a bed and clean linen, the use of appropriate facilities (including access to food preparation facilities and staff facilities where these exist) and free board and lodging for each night when the employee sleeps over.

Client cancellations

Along with the changes, workers will now be reimbursed for client cancellations. If a client cancels a service that was scheduled for a full-time or part-time employee (within 7 days), the employer must either substitute another shift or pay them the full fee. Employers must now provide employees with advance notice before requesting they complete work make-up time. The legislation also sets out specific rules for when and what type of make-up time may be offered.

This will be a major change for service providers as the current NDIS Pricing Arrangements currently only allow for a Short Notice Cancellation rule of two (2) business days.

Working from home

Due to the pandemic, the need to accommodate disability workers who work from home was on the top of the list for the Fair Work Commission to acknowledge. Employees who work remotely outside of their rostered hours and shifts will now benefit from scaled minimum payments under the changes. The scale ranges from just 15 minutes of pay all the way up to 275% of the minimum hourly rate.

Overtime and on-call rates

There is more clarity around overtime rates for disability service workers and employers. If an employee must on call, they will receive an additional 2% of the standard rate for weekdays or 3.96% of the standard rate for public holidays as a way to compensate them.

Conclusion

Whilst the changes are a positive step for disability workers and the industry, they will pose a significant challenge to NDIS providers and employers. It is essential for employers to carefully consider how these changes will affect their organisations and implement streamlined processes to accommodate the changes.

addWorth Partners has recently partnered with Employsure to give employers the best support and guidance when dealing with staff compliance. This partnership allows our client’s to receive support in all areas of HR compliance and enjoy a discounted rate because of our relationship with them. We help NDIS businesses stay compliant to free you up to concentrate on running your organisations and assisting those with disabilities.

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