From 1 July, workers under the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Awards 2010 (SCHADS Awards) will be paid a minimum of two hours of work per shift or part of an interrupted shift.
The price changes are intended to encourage more workers to join or stay in the sector to improve the current home care workforce.
However, home care providers have indicated that they cannot afford the cost of these changes and half of providers intend to increase their costs – up to 20%.
Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA), the leading body in the aged care industry, has undertaken a survey of its home and community care members, which has revealed that many providers will increase their fees due to of the price change.
Paul Sadler, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ACCPA, said: “Customers and staff could experience disruption for a few months as vendors work on solutions…but there needs to be clear communication. with clients in particular before changes are made and accepted.
“The Fair Work Commission (FWC) ruling means that home care staff must be paid for a minimum of two hours when they go out to care for customers, even though the task may take an hour and the employee had already been paid for [only] time.”
So what are the price changes and how will they affect you and the home care you receive?
What will change?
Changes to the SCHADS price include:
- Casual home carers and part-time carers will be paid at least two hours for each shift they undertake
- Home care workers will receive interrupted shift pay, including an even higher payout if there are two breaks in a shift
- If an in-home caregiver works an interrupted shift, the minimum payment will apply to both periods worked during that interrupted shift.
- Home carers will now receive an allowance for damaged clothing
- Introduction of a minimum payment and other requirements for employees who work in remote areas
- New rules regarding compensation and make-up time that will apply when a care recipient cancels a service
While these changes will affect who is providing your care, your home care provider may want to increase their fees to cover the changes or change the way you receive your services.
What you should know
Leading body for older Australians, the Council on the Aging (COTA) Australia, says it has seen an increase in complaints about fee changes.
However, COTA chief executive Ian Yates says you should be aware that your provider can’t just put a fee into a home care agreement you’ve previously agreed to.
“Consumers need to be aware that they must agree to changes to the care plan, providers cannot dictate fee increases and other changes,” Yates says.
The Department of Health has made it clear that the price change does not mean carers will have to spend a minimum two-hour shift with a care recipient, they can still see more than one client at more than one location within two hours minimum. .
According to the ministry, any changes proposed by your supplier must be “reasonable, fair and must align” with your needs and objectives.
Your provider may suggest:
- Change the times you receive home care services or the worker who comes to your home
- Combine some of the services you receive
- Adding more services that match your defined goals and needs in your care plan
- Increase in service prices
Your supplier must not:
- Implement a minimum service fee, such as receiving only 30 minutes of care but being charged for two hours of service
- Set up service times that are not reasonable for you or that you do not need
- Add new services that you did not agree to or that do not match your eldercare needs and goals
- Increase your home care costs without your consent or warning – however, keep in mind that if you have agreed to periodic price increases in your home care contract, these changes may fall under this
The Department of Health wants to encourage homecare consumers to be as flexible as possible as the sector makes changes and improvements to meet these new conditions.
If there have been cost increases or changes in care with your provider and you need help, advocacy or advice, contact the Older Adult Advocacy Network (OPAN) on 1800 700 600 for free online support. elder care advocacy.
For more information on the changes to rewards and what it might mean for you, visit the Ministry of Health website.