THERE have been media reports that changes to the home care workers’ award could mess up people’s care arrangements.
The media has honed in on a determination by the Fair Work Commission that from 1 July this year, workers cannot be rostered on for one-hour shifts. Instead, the minimum duration of a shift will be two hours.
A shift is a service. If you receive a service in the morning and one in the evening, your worker does two shifts.
A typical home care service on a given day is for a worker to visit for an hour in the morning and for an hour in the evening.
So, what happens after 1 July when a minimum shift is two hours?
Will you still get two hours a day, but either in the morning or in the evening, or will you get four hours a day, two hours in the morning plus two hours in the evening?
The answer is: neither will happen. Nothing will change.
What has not received much attention in the media is that the Fair Work Commission also introduced a ‘broken shift allowance’.
In other words, the Commission makes provision for the fact that a lot of services are one-hour services.
Where a single-break broken shift is worked, the worker receives $17.35 as a broken shift allowance.
In the case of multiple-break shifts, the worker receives $23.20 for each break.
Will this cost your home care package?
It will be up to the care provider (and in their interest) to minimise what they pay in broken shift allowances overall. We imagine, this overall amount would be charged proportionally to home care packages of people receiving one-hour services.
But, while the cost of your service goes up, it is not doubled because you now have four hours instead of two.
CPSA is calling on the Government to increase the value of home care packages and block funding for other home care to ensure service levels don’t drop.
The broken shift allowance represents a nice and well-deserved pay rise for part-time care workers as these workers do not get paid for traveling from your place to the next.