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The Fair Work Commission has announced changes to the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2020 following the completion its 4 yearly review.

The SCHADS Award covers many employers in the social and community services sector. This includes many charities, not-for-profits and NDIS providers. It is one of the most complex modern awards and runs to over 100 pages.

Here are the key changes you need to be across:

Effective from 1 July 2022

These changes will be effective from 1 July 2022, or the first pay period after that.

Minimum shift of 2 hours

New minimum engagement periods of 2 hours will apply to part-time employees.

The minimum engagement periods applying to casual home care employees will increase from 1 hour to 2 hours. Readers playing along at home will note that NDIS supports are generally delivered and billed by the hour, not in 2-hour blocks.

But there is a transitional period from 1 February 2022 to 1 October 2022, to give employers and employees time to negotiate changes to shifts. This transition period applies to arrangements in place before 1 February 2022 only.

Workers to be paid for broken shifts

The broken shift provisions have been altered to include a broken shift allowance payable for each shift work and the application of minimum engagement periods for each portion of a broken shift.

A broken shift is defined as a shift with one or more breaks (that aren’t meal breaks) within a 12 hour period.

For example, if a worker is rostered from 8am to 11am, then 2pm to 6pm, that would be considered a broken shift. This one was a big-ticket item for many providers – with lots of submissions calling the proposed broken shift changes incompatible with the NDIS pricing model.

Workers will now be paid an additional allowance of 1.7% of the standard rate per broken shift, or 2.25% of the standard rate for two unpaid breaks in shifts in a 12-hour period. The Award does not specify an allowance for more than two unpaid breaks, or indicate whether these will be allowed.

Worker reimbursement for client cancellations

The client cancellations clause is being extended to disability services and will no longer permit an employer to withhold payment for a cancelled shift. Rather, depending on the circumstances, an employer would be required to provide make up time to the employee or to pay the employee for the cancelled shift. There are also several conditions on when make-up time can occur, how much notice employers need to provide, and the kind of make-up time that can be offered.

For example, if a client cancels a service rostered for a full or part time employee within 7 days, the employer must either find an equivalent shift for the worker or pay them the full rate.

Given the Short Notice Cancellation rule in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements is currently only 2 clear business days, this will be one of the most challenging changes for providers.

Working outside of hours

Submissions from employee representative groups were clear that there needs to be some acknowledgement of when work creeps into the non-work lives of employees. And Fair Work seems to agree.

A new clause is to be inserted applying to “remote response” work that requires employees to be paid for time spent working remotely outside their ordinary hours of duty, e.g., taking phone calls, assisting with emergencies, implementing short-notice roster changes, etc. There will be a scale of minimum payments for employees performing remote work outside of their rostered hours and designated shifts. This scale ranges from 15mins of pay, to 275% of the minimum hourly rate in certain circumstances.

Overtime rates and on-call allowances

The SCHADS Award provides some clarity about overtime rates.

There is also a minimum engagement period of 2 hours for workers who have left the workplace and are called back to work.

Where an employee is required to be on-call, they will be paid an additional allowance of 2% of the standard rate for weekdays or 3.96% of the standard rate for public holidays.

You can read the full determination here: