The Ultimate Aged Care Award (MA000018) Summary

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Everything you need to know about the Aged Care Award (MA000018), without the jargon.

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The Aged Care Award is a complex and ever-evolving Modern Award focused in several sectors and has a broad coverage in one of the country's biggest industries.

You can read also read our article that covers the 8 conditions commonly missed by employers in the Aged Care Award.

In addition, you can download a FREE copy of our Aged Care Award eBook that covers everything you need to know about the award, without the jargon which comes with a BONUS payroll processing checklist. 

This summary provides will provide you a comprehensive understanding of everything you need to know about the Aged Care Award to ensure you have maximum compliance.

Disclaimer:
Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this guide is accurate. You should note, however, that the information is intended as a guide only, providing an overview of general information available. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal or tax advice. You should, where necessary, seek a second professional opinion for any legal or tax issues raised in your business affairs.

The Aged Care Award also covers:

  • on-hire employees - who are employees that are supplied to the employer’s client to work under them; and 
  • employers who provide group training services for apprentices and trainees engaged in the aged care industry.   

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  • full-time
  • part-time; or
  • casual

 

Full-Time Employees

To be classified as a full-time employee under the Aged Care Award, they must work an average of 38 ordinary hours per week.

 

Part-Time Employees

To be classified a part-time employee, they must: 

  • work less than 38 hours per week or 76 hours over two consecutive weeks;
  • have reasonable predictability in terms of the hours they work; and 
  • receive, on a pro-rata basis, pay and conditions equivalent to full-time employees. 

Before starting work as a part-time employee, the employer and employee must agree (in writing) on: 

  • a regular pattern of work which details hours to be worked every day, which days of the week the employee will work as well as the starting and finishing times of the workday; and 
  • their classification. 

The above agreement can be changed with consent from both the employer and the employee, but it must be done in writing. 

 

Casual Employees

Under the Aged Care Award, a casual employee is an employee that doesn’t fit into the full- or part-time categories and who works on an hourly basis. 

Instead of receiving paid leave benefits, casual workers are paid an additional 25% loading on top of their minimum hourly rate. 

 

Right to Request Casual Conversion

A regular casual employee is someone who is employed casually on a regular basis for at least 12 months. 

In some cases, a casual employee can apply to have their employment contract changed into a part-time or full-time contract depending on the number of hours they regularly work:

  • An employee that works an average of 38 or more hours a week over 12 months may elect to change over to a full-time contract
  • An employee that works an average of fewer than 38 hours a week over 12 months may elect to change over to a part-time contract

The employer has full discretion to accept, in writing, or refuse the request. However, if the employer chooses to deny the request, it needs to be based on reasonable grounds, such as:

  • to fulfil the requirements of the new employment type, there is a significant change to the number of work hours;
  • the casual position may not exist in the next 12 months; 
  • the casual position may have reduced working hours within the next 12 months; or 
  • there is likely to be significant changes in the casual employee’s work days and times within the next 12 months that doesn’t suit the employee’s availability.

All grounds of refusal should be known or reasonably foreseeable.

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Notice of Termination by an Employee

The requirements for notice of termination by an employer under the Aged Care Award is covered in the National Employment Standards (NES).

The National Employment Standards (NES) are 10 minimum employment entitlements that have to be provided to all employees.

All employees in the national workplace relations system are covered by the NES regardless of the award, registered agreement or employment contract that applies.

An employee classified under the Aged Care Award must give their employer notice of termination as below:

Employee’s period of continuous service with the employer
at the end of the day, the notice is given

Period of notice

Not more than 1 year

1 week

More than 1 year but not more than 3 years

2 weeks

More than 3 years but not more than 5 years

3 weeks

More than 5 years

4 weeks


The notice that an employee is required to give is the same required of an employer, except the employee does not have to provide additional notice based on their age.

If an employee who is at least 18 years old does not give the period of notice required, then the employer can deduct from wages due to the employee. However, no more than one week’s wages should be deducted.

If the employer has agreed to a shorter period of notice, then no deduction can be made.

 

Job Search Entitlement

When an employer has given notice of termination to an employee in terms of the Aged Care Award, the employee must be allocated paid time up to one day, so that they can search for new employment elsewhere. 

The allocated time should be taken when convenient to the employee and after consultation with the employer.

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Please also refer to the minimum rates for different classifications here.

 

If you aren't sure about the classification structure, we break it down in our Aged Care Award eBook.

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  • Clothing and equipment allowance: employees required to wear uniforms will be supplied with an adequate number of uniforms free of cost. However, where the employer does not supply the uniform, they will be required to pay the employee an allowance to cover the cost of the uniform and the laundry expenses.
  • Leading hand allowance: 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: 
  • Meal allowance: if your employee is required to work more than 1 hour overtime, you must supply them with a meal or pay them an allowance. 
  • Nauseous work allowance: if employees have to handle linen of a nauseous nature and/or work which is of an unusually dirty or offensive nature, they are entitled to an additional allowance. 
  • Tool allowance: a tool allowance for the supply and maintenance of tools will be paid to chefs and cooks who are not provided with all the necessary tools by the employer.
  • Vehicle allowance: employees required and authorised to use their own motor vehicle in the course of their duties will be paid an allowance. 
  • When an employee is involved in travelling on duty, if the employer can’t provide the appropriate transport, all reasonably incurred expenses including fares, meals and accommodation must be reimbursed by the employer.

Search our database for all relevant allowances to your modern award.

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A rate of 9.5% of an employee’s ordinary earnings must be contributed to a nominated fund.

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  • in a period of 28 calendar days of not more than 20 work days in a roster cycle;
  • in a period of 28 calendar days of not more than 19 work days in a roster cycle,with the twentieth day taken as an accrued paid day off ;or
  • 8 hours on a day shift or 10 hours on a night shift.

 

Span of Hours

Ordinary hours for a day worker must be worked between 6.00 am and 6.00 pm Monday to Friday. 

However, shiftworkers will be regularly rostered to work their ordinary hours outside the ordinary hours of work of a day worker.

 

Rostered Days Off

An employee (other than a casual employee) must have: 

  • 2 full rostered days off per week; 
  • 4 full rostered days off in each fortnight; or 
  • 8 full rostered days off in a 28-day cycle. 

Ideally, if it is practical for the employer, the rostered days off should be consecutive. 

 

Rest Breaks Between Rostered Work

An employee must be allowed a break of at least 10 hours between the end of one shift and the start of another. 

By mutual agreement, however, the 10-hour rest break may be reduced to 8 hours. 

 

Accumulation and Taking of Accrued Days Off

An accrued day off means that the employee has collected a paid day (or more than one day) that they can take off in a roster cycle. 

Accrued days off only applies to full-time employees.

Example: 

Larry 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, Larry 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, Larry has accumulated 7.6 hours.

As per his agreement with his employer, Larry 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. 

 

Rosters 

An employer needs to put staff rosters in a place that all employees on the roster can access easily.

An employee’s roster can be changed:

  • 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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Minimum Hours 

Part-time and casual employees must receive a minimum payment of two hours for each rostered day.  

 

Broken Shifts 

A broken shift means a shift of two parts worked in a day where the span of the shift overall does not exceed 12 hours and where the employee can take a break of not more than 4 hours. 

A broken shift may be worked where there is a mutual agreement between the employer and employee to work the broken shift.

Payment for a broken shift will be at ordinary pay with penalty rates. 

All work performed beyond the maximum span of 12 hours for a broken shift will be paid at double time.

An employee must receive a minimum break of 10 hours between broken shifts rostered on successive days.

 

Sleepovers

Employees may, in addition to normal rostered shifts, be required to sleepover. A sleepover means sleeping in at night in order to be on call for emergencies.

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 relevant 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 normal 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. 

 

Saturday and Sunday Work

For employees who work on a Saturday and Sunday as part of their ordinary hours, they will be paid as follows: 

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

150%

175%

midnight on Saturday and midnight on Sunday

175%

200%

 

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Hours worked per shift

Paid rest break

Unpaid meal break

Between 5 and 7.6 hours

1 x 10-minute break

1 x break between 30 and 60 minutes

7.6 hours or more

2 x 10-minute rest breaks, not to be taken:

  • in the first hour of work; or
  • the first hour after a meal break

1 x break between 30 and 60 minutes

 

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Overtime Rates

The table below outlines the penalty rates that employees are paid for all work done in addition to their rostered ordinary hours on different days:

Time of ordinary hours worked

Full-time and part-time employees

(% of ordinary hourly rate)

Casual employees

% of the ordinary hourly rate 

(inclusive of casual loading)

Monday to Friday

first 2 hours

150%

175%

Monday to Friday

after 2 hours

200%

225% 

Saturday or Sunday

200%

225%

Public Holidays

250%

275%

 

Rest Period After Working Overtime

Where an employee works overtime and their next rostered working day is less than 10 hours after they finish working the overtime, then the employer must either: 

  • 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. 

 

Call-Back

If an employee is called back to their place of work after leaving, they must be paid for a minimum of 4 hours’ work at the appropriate rate for each time they are recalled. 

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. 

 

Overtime Rest Breaks

An employee working overtime must be allowed a paid rest break of 20 minutes to have a meal and another 20 minute break every 4 hours of overtime worked (if they have to continue work after the rest break). 

 

Time Off Instead of Payment for Overtime

It is possible for an employer and employee to agree (in writing) to taking time off for their overtime, instead of getting paid the overtime rates. 

Employees are entitled to take time off based on what their overtime payment would have been. For example, if a casual employee worked 2 hours overtime, they are entitled to 3 hours time off (2 x 150%).

If the employee requests it, the employer must pay the employee for overtime covered by the agreement but not taken as time off; and any payment must be made in the next pay period following the request.

Employers may not put pressure on employees to take time off instead of payment for overtime.

Time off must be taken:

  • within 6 months after the overtime is worked; and 
  • at a time within that 6 month period that is agreed on by both the employee and employer 

Should the employee not take the time-off within the 6 months, the employer must pay the employee as per the overtime rates. 

If the employee’s employment is terminated, the employer must pay the employee for the overtime work at the applicable overtime rate. 

Example:

Milly, an employee at a local aged care facility, worked 4 hours overtime on a Tuesday night.

She had agreed with her employer to receive time off as opposed to getting paid for her overtime hours. 

According to the overtime rates, Milly is entitled to receive 200% of her ordinary hourly rate. So, her time off calculation will be as follows: 

4 hours x 200% overtime rate = 8 hours time off

However, this time off needs to be taken within six months of the worked overtime and at a time that is agreed on by both the employer and employee.

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The table below outlines the penalty rates for shiftworkers: 

Shift

Penalty rate
% of the ordinary hourly rate 

Afternoon 
starting between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm

110%

Afternoon 
starting between 1.00 am and 4.00 pm

112.5%

Night
starting between 4.00 pm and 4.00 am

115%

Night
starting between 4.00 am and 6.00 am

110%

 

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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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Payment for Annual Leave Loading

Under the Aged Care Award, a rate of 17.5% leave loading on top of their annual leave is applied when an employee takes paid time off.

Employees must be paid the higher of:

  • An annual leave loading of 17.5% of their ordinary pay rate; or
  • The weekend and shift penalties the employee would have received if they weren’t on leave during that period.

Example:

If a full-time employee applies for leave between Thursday this week and Wednesday next week, he or she would typically work 8 hours of shiftwork on a Saturday too. 

The employer must calculate 38 hours, including a 17.5% leave loading and compare with how much the employee will typically receive if they had been paid working across that period with the Saturday penalty rates.

Whichever of the two calculations is higher is how much the employee should be paid across that period of time, not for individual days.

The idea is so that the employee is protected from being paid less for going on paid annual leave. 

 

Alternative Leave Arrangements: 

  • Leave in advance: employers and employees may agree in writing to the employee taking a period of paid annual leave before the employee has accrued the leave. 
  • Cashing out annual leave: employers and employees may agree in writing to cashing out a particular amount of an employee’s accrued paid annual leave. 
  • Excessive leave accruals: employers and employees may agree in writing on how to reduce or eliminate excessive leave accrual. An excessive leave accrual is defined as having accrued more than 8 weeks paid annual leave, or 10 weeks for a shift worker.  
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According to the NES, all employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday (or unpaid for casual employees), except where reasonably expected to work. 

Under the Aged Care Award, any employee required to work on a public holiday will be paid 150% of the minimum hourly rate applicable to their classification.

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You can also download a FREE copy of our Aged Care Award eBook with a BONUS payroll processing checklist to ensure you maximise your payroll compliance.

If this is all too much trouble and you'd rather automate the process like many of our clients, you can make the shift over to cloud payroll by engaging us to help you to transition from a manual to a cloud system seamlessly.

Here’s how cloud payroll works:

    1. Time and Attendance
      Employees clock their time using an integrated time and attendance system that syncs all data with your cloud payroll software
    2. Live Timesheet Approval
      No more manually entries or paper timesheet approvals. Supervisors and managers approve time and attendance on the go directly on the cloud payroll software.
    3. Automated Modern Awards Compliance
      A collection of “rules” based on the Aged Care Award are implemented into your cloud payroll software that automatically calculate pay conditions (penalties, allowances, shift work, and more).
    4. Automated Payslips
      Payslips are automatically generated that comply with the Aged Care Award

Payroll Complete In Under an Hour
Never get it wrong. No back pay calculations. No inefficient manual interpretation. No data re-entry. Stress free pay days that take less than an hour to complete!

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 interested in moving from a manual payroll system to an automated cloud payroll system, get in touch with us today for a free demo.

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