SCHADS Award: Classifying Employees Correctly

  • Guest Article

Correctly classifying employees under the SCHADS Award is crucial for NDIS providers to ensure compliance, fair pay, and proper working conditions. The SCHADS Award outlines minimum terms and conditions for various employee classifications within the social, community, home care, and disability services sectors. This post will help you understand the award’s application, the different streams, and the classification levels for social and community services and home care employees.

Understanding the SCHADS Award

Importance of Correct Classification

Determining the correct modern award and classification for your staff is vital as these dictate the minimum wages and conditions that must be adhered to. Awards provide different classification levels for employees based on their seniority and responsibilities. You cannot simply choose to pay a higher wage to avoid compliance with these classifications. Clause 13.2 of the SCHADS Award mandates that employers must inform employees in writing about their classification upon commencement of employment and any subsequent changes. It’s worth noting that the award sets out minimum pay rates only. You may elect to pay employees above the minimum award rate and their employment contract would reflect as such. Paying above the award rate does not imply that their classification should be higher.

Who Does the SCHADS Award Apply To?

The SCHADS Award covers employers and employees in the social, community, home care, and disability services industry. It identifies four separate industry streams that impact employee entitlements, such as minimum rates and rostering provisions. The four streams are:

  • Crisis Assistance and Supported Housing Sector
  • Social and Community Services (SACS) Sector
  • Home Care Sector
  • Family Daycare Scheme Sector

For the purpose of relevancy to NDIS providers, we will only focus on the SACS and Home Care streams.

Home Care Stream

This stream covers the provision of personal care, domestic assistance, and home maintenance support to aged persons or persons with disabilities in private residences. Roles include helping individuals with daily activities, attending health care appointments, and community engagements, with the main focus on providing personal care at home.

Below is a very high-level summary of classification levels:

Classification Levels for Home Care Employees

Level 1: New to Home Care
  • Experience: Less than 12 months in the sector.
  • Responsibilities: Household chores, shopping, errands, pet care, and plant care.
Level 2: Personal Care and Skilled Support
  • Experience: Completion of Level 1 requirements or equivalent qualifications.
  • Responsibilities: Personal care, medication management, and advanced support services.
Level 3: Skilled Team Members and Supervisors
  • Experience: Accredited qualification or equivalent training.
  • Responsibilities: Administrative support, meal planning, supervision, and advanced personal care.
Level 4: Coordination and Specialized Care
  • Experience: Qualifications beyond Level 3 or significant experience.
  • Responsibilities: Supervising staff, budget management, and specialised participant care.
Level 5: Specialists and Coordinators
  • Experience: Formal qualifications and significant experience.
  • Responsibilities: Coordinating resources, supporting senior staff, and program management.

Social and Community Services Stream

This stream encompasses support services to individuals, families, and communities, including disability services, social work, welfare work, youth work, community development, policy and advocacy organisations, and respite care in community and residential settings.

Below is a very high-level summary of classification levels:

Classification Levels for Social and Community Services Employees

Level 1: Entry-Level and Trainees
  • Experience: New to the industry or trainees.
  • Responsibilities: Basic clerical tasks, personal care, and domestic duties.
  • Pay Points: Progression after 12 months or 1976 hours.
Level 2: Qualified Newcomers
  • Experience: Relevant qualifications or equivalent experience.
  • Responsibilities: Developing client plans, some independent judgement, and support services.
  • Pay Points: Diploma holders progress to higher pay points after satisfactory performance.
Level 3: Experienced and Skilled Contributors
  • Experience: Significant experience and relevant qualifications.
  • Responsibilities: Supervisory roles, initiative in task execution, and problem-solving with support.
Level 4: Specialists and Team Leaders
  • Experience: Advanced qualifications and extensive experience.
  • Responsibilities: Autonomy in work, supervision of staff, and input into policies and planning.
Level 5: Experienced Leaders and Advisors
  • Experience: High competence and autonomy under senior management direction.
  • Responsibilities: Program development, budget contribution, and supervision.
Level 6: Managers and Decision Makers
  • Experience: Independence with broad managerial responsibilities.
  • Responsibilities: Policy development, negotiating, and project leadership.
Level 7: Leadership Team Members
  • Experience: High managerial authority and specialist roles.
  • Responsibilities: Establishing programs, high-level decisions, and supervision.
Level 8: Executive Team Members
  • Experience: Broad direction from senior officers and substantial managerial responsibility.
  • Responsibilities: Organisational strategy, financial and policy advice, and innovative solutions.

Classifications and Pay Points

Every employee under the SCHADS Award must be assigned a specific classification level, which determines their minimum pay rate based on skills, experience, and responsibilities. It’s essential to notify employees of their classification in writing at the start and whenever changes occur. It’s important to note that we classify employees based on their individual circumstance/qualifications/experience, not the position itself.

Pay Point Progression

Some classification levels are divided into pay points, which are steps within a specific job classification. Employees become eligible for progression after 12 months of continuous employment or a specified number of hours, demonstrating competency, skill development, and satisfactory performance.

By understanding and correctly applying these classifications, employers can ensure compliance with the SCHADS Award, provide fair compensation, and maintain a positive and productive work environment.

Provider Institute Best Practice Tip

  • Understand the SCHADS Award: Familiarise yourself with the specific classifications and their definitions within the SCHADS Award.
  • Document and Communicate Classifications: Notify employees of their classification in writing at the start of employment and whenever changes occur.
  • Review and Assess Performance: Regularly review employee performance to determine eligibility for progression to higher pay points or classification levels.