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Home & Community Care minimum hours changes to impact clients and providers

Release date: 30 Jun 2022

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Older Australians who receive support through home and community care and providers are likely to be affected by changes to working arrangements which come into effect on 1 July 2022.

Changes to the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 (the Award) covering part-time and casual support workers will disrupt services for many in the short term and lead to fee increases for clients. A key change to the Award requires staff be paid for a minimum of two hours work for each shift or portion of a broken shift.

An Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) survey of home and community care providers found that around 90 per cent have already taken steps to accommodate the changes through consultation with clients and staff. The survey also found that almost half of home care providers expect their fees for clients to increase by up to 20 per cent.

ACCPA Interim CEO Paul Sadler called on the federal government to make sure additional funding is forthcoming to ensure the level of care provided to existing clients on a home care package is not diminished by this important change.  

“Clients and staff could experience disruption for some months as providers work through solutions with clients and their staff but there must be clear communication with clients in particular before any changes are made and agreed to,” Mr Sadler said.

“The FWC decision means that home care staff must be paid for a minimum of two hours when they go out to attend to clients even though the task may take one hour and the employee had previously been paid for the one hour,” Mr Sadler said.

“In many cases the new Award provision can be accommodated through rostering that ensures an employee can move between home care clients over the minimum two-hour shift or portion of a broken shift. However, this may not always be possible, for example, in rural or remote areas, where the client needs a particular employee, or where care is required at a particular time outside peak service periods.

“Where the Award change cannot readily be accommodated through roster changes or by employing additional staff, we are seeking a commitment from the government to adjust how it pays providers to make sure no-one – an older person, an employee or provider – is out of pocket for complying with the changes to the Award.”

Mr Sadler said aged care staff deserve better pay and conditions which is why providers have been campaigning for better wages for workers in aged care.

“But it can’t come at the expense of older Australians getting the care they need or to the point where providers have no choice but to cease operating because of the increase in costs and the restriction on their ability to adjust their prices accordingly,” Mr Sadler said.

“It is hoped that this move will make working in home care a more attractive option for casual and part-time employees thus attracting more people to work in aged care.”

Providers who have not yet discussed the changes with staff or clients are urged to do so without delay.

 

Media contact: Kate Hannon 0499 106 957 or Jane Garcia (Essential) 0455 111 593

 

About Aged & Community Care Providers Association:

The Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) is the national organisation representing all providers of aged care to older Australians, delivering retirement living, seniors housing, residential care, home care, community care and related services.

As the peak body representing church, charitable and community-based organisations providing accommodation and care services to older people, people with a disability and their carers, ACSA can be contacted for comment on issues affecting the industry.

Areas ACSA may provide media commentary on include:  

  • Aged care reforms
  • Residential aged care
  • Home care
  • Independent and retirement living
  • Housing for older Australians
  • Palliative care
  • The aged care workforce in Australia

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