8 Conditions Commonly Missed in the Aged Care Award (MA000018)

Author Image Written by Garth Belic

The biggest pitfalls in the Aged Care Award (without the jargon).


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The Aged Care Award (MA000119) covers employers working in the aged care industry and their employees who fit within the award’s classifications. 

While you can review the Aged Care Award on the Fair Work website, the document is often filled with complicated legal jargon, making it challenging to understand whether or not your restaurant business is meeting all the compliance requirements.

With a recent focus on payroll compliance from Fair Work Commission Australia and media coverage of businesses guilty of wage theft, it’s more important now than ever that companies understand what’s expected of their obligations when it comes to being compliant with pay rates and employment conditions. 

For example, in 2020, Uniting aged care facilities were found to have failed to pay a range of minimum entitlements under the Aged Care Award.

To help guide you in the right direction, we’ve created an easy-to-understand eBook that summarises all the essentials in the Aged Care Award. Our eBook also includes a payroll processing checklist for your restaurant business so that you can ensure you cover all your bases and remain compliant in terms of the Aged Care Award. 

We’ve also put together this article to cover some of the conditions commonly missed in the Aged Care Award that you should know to ensure you fully understand how to be 100% compliant.

Generally, a leading hand is an employee who is placed in charge of two or more employees. 

A leading hand is paid a weekly allowance according to how many employees they supervise: 

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Accrued days off only applies to full-time employees.


Marshall is a full-time employee at a local aged care home. His typical working hours 38 hours a week, so on average he should be working 7.6 hours per day.

However, more often than not, Marshal actually works around 8 hours per day. So, he accumulates an additional 0.4 hours (or 24 minutes) for each day.

Over a standard month, by working 19 days with an extra 24 minutes, Marshall has accumulated 7.6 hours.

As per his agreement with his employer, Marshall can take one accrued day off per month.

The employee can accumulate the days over more than one month; however, the accrued days off must be taken within 12 months.

If the contract is terminated for whatever reason, accumulated accrued days off must be paid to the employee at their ordinary rate. 

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  • at any time, if the employer and employee agree, or
  • if the employer gives the employee 7 days’ notice.

Employers need to record these agreements in writing. The record can be digital, for example, an email or text message.

In cases of emergency out of the employer’s control, they are allowed to disregard the requirement to provide 7 days’ notice of the change. 

For example, an emergency situation could be one that requires the aged care premises to be locked-down such as in the case of COVID-19.

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A sleepover means sleeping in at night to be on call for emergencies.

According to the Aged Care Award, the following conditions will apply to each night of sleepover:

  • the sleepover hours must range between 8 and 10 hours, but not more; 
  • employees must be given free board and lodging for each night that they have to sleepover; including a separate room with a bed and an additional sleepover allowance;
  • employees must have access to the necessary staff facilities; 
  • only emergency work should be performed during a sleepover;
  • any non-emergency work that the employee does must be compensated with the relevant overtime rate;
  • full-time employees must be paid overtime rates; while part-time and casual employees are paid at their ordinary rate plus the appropriate shift and weekend penalties;
  • if the employee can’t take their 8-hour break between shifts due to high volumes of work, they must be paid double the regular rate until they can take their 8-hour break; 
  • casual employees should only be used for sleepovers when full-time employees or permanent part-time employees are not available for that duty; and 
  • no employee will be required to sleepover during any part of their rostered days off. 

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For overtime worked between

Overtime rate for full- and part-time employees

(% of ordinary hourly rate)

Overtime rate for casual employees

(% of ordinary hourly rate)

midnight on Friday and midnight on Saturday



midnight on Saturday and midnight on Sunday




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Where an employee regularly has to prepare to be called back, they will be paid for a minimum of 3 hours’ work at the correct rate above. 

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  • delay the start time of their next rostered working day to allow a 10 hours break; or 
  • pay the employee at 200% of the minimum hourly rate until the employee has a break of at least 10 hours. 


As a result of helping an elderly lady who needed more specialised care, Melanie landed up staying at the aged care facility until 11:30 pm treating her and preparing her for bed. 

She worked a total of 7.5 hours overtime and because she had to be back by 8.00 am to continue the specialised care, she didn’t have the required 10 hours off. 

As a result, her employer was required to pay her overtime rates and 200% of his minimum hourly rate until she could have her next 10-hour break. 

Her duties were taken over by another specialised care employee at 4.00 pm, so Melanie could take a much-needed break until her 8.00 am start time the following day. 

This means that she was paid 200% of his minimum hourly rate from 8.00 am - 4.00 pm. 

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  • 2 hours or less in any higher classified duties will be paid at a higher rate for the time worked at the higher level; and 
  • more than 2 hours in any higher classified duties will be paid at a higher rate for the full day or shift worked at the higher level.

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Beyond reading the Aged Care Award eBook and this article, given the complexity of the award, we have found that adopting cloud payroll software to automate your compliance and help with labour cost control is a handy tool. 

We also offer an automated time and attendance solution called NoahFace, which captures the start and end of shift times using an Ipad or the NoahFace Go phone app. The data is synchronised with your payroll system, making payroll a breeze and compliance guaranteed!

If you’re still feeling unsure about your compliance with the Aged Care Award, feel free to get in touch with us at Pay Cat to learn more about adopting cloud payroll software and no-touch clocking for the Aged Care Award (MA000018) or any other modern award.