Recent changes to the SCHADS Award
Recent changes to the SCHADS Award
After a range of submissions from employers, peak bodies, unions and employees, the Fair Work Commission has recently finished its review into the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 (SCHADS Award). Some significant changes have taken effect from 1 July 2022 with the key amendments addressing:
- minimum payment periods
- broken shifts
- client cancellations
- remote work
- 24-hour care
- roster changes; and
- family and domestic violence leave.
We set out key changes for employers whose employees are covered by the SCHADS Award. Additionally, this may be relevant when the FWC applies the Better Off Overall Test to proposed enterprise agreements.
If the SCHADS Award is relevant to you, we recommend carefully reviewing it in its entirety as there are some additional, minor changes that are not explored below. In addition, the FWC is still considering some changes, including as part of the Work value case – Aged care industry (including introducing a definition of ‘home aged care employee’ and minimum rates of pay for such employees).
New minimum payment periods have been introduced into the SCHADS Award. The new minimum payment periods will apply to part time and casual employees. For social and community services employees, there is now a minimum payment of 3 hours required (except when undertaking disability services work). There are also 2 hour minimum payments for all other employees. Importantly (noting the changes to broken shifts which we will outline below), these minimum engagement periods also apply to each portion of work of a broken shift. That is, minimum payment periods will apply to either ‘side’ of a broken shift. Employers should note that there were transitional arrangements which ended on 1 October 2022.
The ‘broken shift’ provisions, used most frequently in home care and disability services, have also been varied.
From 1 July 2022, broken shifts (other than by agreement) can now only involve one unpaid break. A two break broken shift (effectively 3 periods of work) can be worked by agreement only, and an agreement must be made before each occasion unless it is part of the agreed regular pattern of work of a part time employee. The Fair Work Commission has also introduced a broken shift allowance for employees (the allowance is 1.7% of the standard rate for a shift with one unpaid break and 2.25% of the standard rate, for a shift with 2 unpaid breaks).
In a significant change to the SCHADS Award, the client cancellation provisions have also changed and create greater burdens on employers. Previously, provided an employee was given notice of the client cancellation by 5:00pm the day prior to the shift, no payment was required to be made.
From 1 July 2022, the client cancellation provisions are being extended to disability services (in addition to home care services) and will no longer permit an employer to withhold payment for a cancelled shift. Rather, where a client cancels a service, an employer is required to either pay the employee (at the higher rate of either the cancelled shift or for substitute work performed in lieu of the cancelled shift) or, depending on the circumstances, provide 'make-up time'. There are several conditions regulating when make-up time can occur, how much notice employers need to provide and the kind of make-up time that can be offered.
Amendments to the SCHADS Award now address remote work through a new definition and payment regime. Under new clause 25.10 of the SCHADS Award, remote work is now defined to mean work not part of an employee’s ordinary hours (and which are not additional part-time hours) and which is not required to be performed at a designated workplace.
Employees will now receive a minimum payment of 15 or 30 minutes if they are on call (and depending on the time of day the work is being performed). An employee who is not on call must be paid a minimum of 1 hour for remote work. There is also a minimum of a one hour payment for staff meetings and training that is conducted remotely. Any time worked beyond these minimum payments is rounded up to the nearest 15 minutes.
Employees are required to keep a record or time sheet of the work they have performed and provide it to their employer within a reasonable time period after the work is performed to receive payment under the new regime.
Significant amendments to the ‘24-hour care’ provisions have also been introduced. From 1 July 2022, 24-hour care shifts can only be worked by agreement and employees who work 24-hour care shifts in a client’s home will be entitled to appropriate facilities (separate room, clean linen and a bed, access to food preparation facilities and staff facilities where these exist). Employees must have the opportunity to sleep for a continuous period of 8 hours and overtime payments are payable for work in excess of 8 hours. Employees can refuse to work more than 8 hours if that requirement is unreasonable. These amendments come after calls from unions to scrap the 24-hour scheme altogether.
Similar to shift workers, employees who work more than eight 24-hour care shifts per year will receive an additional week of annual leave per year.
As with the changes to the 24-hour care provisions, minimum conditions for workers required to sleepover have also been expanded. In addition to a separate room with a bed, employees are also entitled to clean linen and access to food preparation facilities.
The requirement to give 7 days’ notice of a change in roster remains, but employees can now swap shifts where the two employees and the employer agree. Provided the shift swap is approved by the employer, the shift swap can take place on less than 7 days’ notice.
Unpaid family and domestic violence leave
Finally, clause 36 of the SCHADS Award on and from 19 April 2022, was also updated to refer to the National Employment Standards (NES). The current entitlement is to 5 days unpaid leave. There is currently a Bill in federal Parliament to increase this entitlement to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave.
Other changes include a change to the part-time provisions, providing a part-time employee with the right to request an increase in their guaranteed hours if they have worked more than their guaranteed hours for at least 12 months. In addition, where an employee is required to be on-call, they will be paid an allowance of 2% of the standard rate for weekdays or 3.96% for weekends and public holidays. There are also changes relating to clauses dealing with damaged clothing allowances, laundering of clothing (other than uniforms), overtime rates and recall to work overtime.
The Maddocks Employment Safety & People team regularly provide advice to a range of clients covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010.
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