Aug 22, 2022

Rural home care services at risk as Fair Work introduces minimum shift times

Rural home care services at risk as Fair Work introduces minimum shift times

Regional and remote Australians are at risk of losing access to home care services after the Fair Work Commission set a minimum shift time requirement of two hours for part-time and casual workers.

These changes fall under the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry (SCHADS) Award and are not relevant to full-time workers.  

The decision to increase the minimum payment requirements was intended to provide greater job security for care workers. However, some providers can not meet those requirements for services in some locations.

Maggie, a wheelchair user in regional Victoria who utilised three half-hour visits per day, told ABC News she may have to give up her independence because of the Fair Work Commission changes as she won’t be able to access home care services in her area.

” [Home care support has] actually been terrific for me to continue a degree of independence,” Maggie said.

“I don’t need any more than that [three half-hour visits each day]. 

“I have to weigh up: what’s going to happen next – do I sell my place and go into care?

To receive any support, Maggie would have to book a two-hour home care visit or the worker would need back-to-back bookings with multiple clients.

Although some providers have been able to continue operating as normal, regional and rural support services have been the most affected due to long travel times and client demand.

The cost of a two-hour visit has also proved too much for several clients who were already paying extra on top of their Home Care Packages.

Paul Sadler, Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA), told ABC News there needs to be a temporary solution put in place as many Federal Government funded Home Care Packages will not cover additional incurred costs.

“The client might only need an hour’s worth of service, but then you can’t roster a second person because of the travel time,” Mr Sadler said.

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells, told ABC News the Federal Government will go after home care support providers who are not supporting clients. 

“There’s people trying to do the right thing, who are scrambling now to make their rostering system more efficient, right through people who will just pass on the cost and who are doing the wrong thing, and that we need to go after,” Minister Wells said. 

“I’m under no illusion that aged care is in crisis and home care, in particular, needs a huge reform to make it work better for everybody.

“That’s why we are going to reform support at home.”

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  1. This has also started to be an issue in rural Queensland. Our most vulnerable people in the community once again being impacted by what should be a good change for retention and recruitment. Shame alternatives and work arounds weren’t thought of prior to the changes.

  2. I have been doing this job for 30 years and lately l have no money at the end of the pay run many spent on petrol and very low pay we have to travel over 100 klm to see see clients but we don’t get petrol money we have to get it at tax time. And all the other things we are required to have first aid, register car, insurance , own ph. Own internet, enough money to get petrol the following week for work. Is runs into Hundreds of dollars Blue card yellow card continues training plus plus.and to top it off we have to have a new licence to take people in our cars like an Uber licence with full medical.
    It is cheaper to work in coles or MacDonald s and they get more money

  3. I understand why fair work brought in this, but the staff they they are trying to protect are now often disadvantaged. If the worker wants to work less than 2 hours or broken shifts, the can’t (unless the company pays the penalty.

    1. We have a worker who only wants to work 1.5hrs 9.00am – 10.30 in the morning, busy time for clients, she then goes off to her art class at 11.00. She doesn’t want to start earlier as she has child commitments. As a result she has given up her shift. loose /loose/loose

    2. Broken shifts are the same, people want to be casual for a reason, they want the flexibility to choose when they work around their private commitments. Well not any longer, it’s one shift or the other.

    Some staff have requested their roster preferences in writing , if that would help , Fair work says there is no except so we can’t accommodate them.

    All our staff have been offered PPT employment, but the majority of them don’t want to work PPT as they want the flexibility of choosing their availability.

    I don’t understand Fair Work, we have more work than staff can fill and we are now driving staff away. As a result of the changes Fair Work removed employees rights to select their work times. At lease consider a 1 way selection, staff have the right to override the 2hrs min etc. Any companies abusing this, fine them!

    Just to clarify we are Home Care not RACF, its a very different work place.

  4. It’s the right decision for the carers financial future and at some point many folk living at home needing assistance will have to make the common sense decision that they can no longer live independently and should be in care.
    The home care system and NDIS are running out of time in their present form. Too many folk living unsafely at home with high needs. Sooner or later individuals will have to accept that the taxpayer doesn’t have to fund your lifestyle of choice and a cheaper option must be taken.


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