While you can review the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry (SCHADS) Award on the Fair Work website, the document is often filled with complicated legal jargon, making it challenging to understand whether or not your social, community home care and disability services 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.
Just in the last 12 months, there were payroll compliance breaches with Disability Services Australia; Activ Foundation and Elizabeth Cottage. They were found to have failed to pay a range of minimum entitlements under the SCHADS Award.
To help guide you in the right direction, we’ve created an easy-to-understand eBook that summarises all the essentials in the SCHADS Award. Our eBook also includes a payroll processing checklist for your social, community home care and disability services business so that you can ensure you cover all your bases and remain compliant in terms of the SCHADS Award.
The SCHADS Award covers employers and employees offering the following services:
- Crisis assistance and supported housing services;
- Social and community services
- Home care services
- Family day care services.
As the SCHADS Award remains one of the more complex modern awards in the Australian employment landscape, we’ve put together this article to cover some of the conditions commonly missed in the SCHADS Award that you should know to ensure you fully understand how to be 100% compliant.
1. Right to Request Casual Conversion
In addition, employers can only refuse this if there are reasonable grounds to do this and that they’re reasonably foreseeable. All decisions need to be made within 21 days of the request being received.
Below are some examples of reasonable grounds:
- Significant changes to their hours of work to become engaged under the new employment type.
- The position may not exist in the next 12 months.
- The position may reduce in the number of hours within the next 12 months.
- Significant changes in working day and times within the next 12 months that don’t suit the employee’s availability
2. Varying Rest Breaks Between Different Types of Shifts
- Employees should have a rest of no less than 10 consecutive hours between shifts
- Employees should have a rest of no less than 8 consecutive hours between shifts if their following shift is a sleepover shift
- Employees should have a rest of no less than 8 consecutive hours from finishing their sleepover shift to the next shift
- A minimum of 10 hours break between broken shifts on consecutive days
For all employees except casuals, a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off is required after an employee works an overtime shift without loss of pay.
If the employee works without ten consecutive hours off, they will be paid at 200% until they finish their shift. They will then need 10 consecutive hours off duty without loss of pay.
3. Penalty Rates Apply Outside Ordinary Span of Hours
Afternoon shift - shift ends between 8pm and midnight, Monday to Friday
Night shift - finishes after midnight or starts before 6am, Monday to Friday
Public holiday shift - any time worked during the public holiday
4. Higher Duties Require Higher Pay Rates for Home Care Employees
- If they worked two hours or less, they need to be paid for the time worked.
- If they worked for more than two hours, they must be paid a full day or shift.
If the employee has worked five consecutive days or more at a higher classification, they must be paid at the minimum rate based on the classification they worked.
5. Different Minimum Number of Hours Per Shift Apply For Different Types of Casual Employees
- Social and community services employees except when working as a disability services worker: 3 hours
- Home care employees: 1 hour
- All other employees: 2 hours
Previously, a minimum engagement period only applied to casual employees under the SCHADS Award. However, as a result of the SCHADS Award review, a minimum engagement period now applies to part-time employees.
The engagement is now three hours for social and community services employees (except when undertaking disability services work) and two hours for all other employees.
6. Roster Change Rules Apply
If a client cancels or changes home care services, notice must be given to the employee by 5pm the day before if no payment is to be made. If there’s no notice given, then the employee will be entitled to receiving payment for the hours rostered on that day.
The other alternative is that the employer can direct the employee to make-up the cancelled time in the next fortnight in other areas of the business.
However, as of 1 July 2022, it no longer be possible for employers to withhold payment when a shift is cancelled under the client cancellations clause. Instead, an employer is now required to either allocate an alternative shift to the employee, pay the employee for the cancelled shift, or provide them with make-up time.
A number of conditions apply to when make-up time is allowed, how much notice employers have to give, and what kind of make-up time can be offered. You can check out these conditions here.
Most of the time, modern awards are difficult to comprehend because they're filled with many complex clauses written in a way that only lawyers can understand.
Beyond reading the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry (SCHADS) Award eBook and this article, given the complexity of the award, we have found that adopting KeyPay's cloud payroll software to automate your compliance and help with labour cost control is a handy tool.
If you’re still feeling unsure about your compliance with the SCHADS Award, feel free to get in touch with us at Pay Cat to learn more about adopting KeyPay cloud payroll software for the SCHADS Award or any other modern award.