Community & disability services newsletter

Posted on
July 19, 2021
Social Community and Disability Sector

Your union update.

You should not be blamed for roster errors

Workers at a disability provider in the northwest said that their rosters have been very confusing recently.

Staff are often rostered on to be in two places at once without notification of changed shifts, or are rostered on two consecutive shifts at two houses without the travel time being taken into account, so they don’t turn up or start work late.

Due to these rostering issues, management have asked workers to sign a form that in essence states they will not be late or will always turn up for a shift.

We’ve told management that there is no requirement for staff to sign such form as it has no standing from an industrial perspective and it insinuates the blame should be on staff when there is a roster error outside of their control.

The employer already has sufficient rights and abilities to ensure staff clock on/off on time.  There’s no need to sign a form which management can then try to use in any future disciplinary processes.

Remember you should never sign anything that automatically puts the blame on you if an error is to occur, including rostering or anything else that makes up your working day.

If you are unsure whether to sign a document at work, give us a call before you sign it.   


Have you been short in your contracted hours? 

We are seeing more and more workers contact us about their employers not meeting their contracted hours.

Here are a few examples of what we’ve been hearing as the reasons given by employers:  

•  Client wants someone else to support them

•  Client funding has been reduced

•  Workers are relocated to another worksite so they’ll be losing some of their contracted hours which may include penalty shifts

In some cases, employers are asking their staff to apply to vacant shifts to make up for the shortfall in their contracted hours.

But the old fast finger first is not a way your employer should be using to address this issue. If you have a contract, it is the obligation of your employer to find you shifts to fulfil your contracted hours. If they fail to do so, it’s wage theft.

Recently we’ve been successful in forcing an employer to backpay a member who hasn’t had their contracted hours of work met for many years. The amount of underpayment is significant along with all associated accrued leave.

So there is real value in joining your union to ensure that your working conditions and basic entitlements at work are protected.

Keep an eye on your payslips and question any discrepancies. If you are a permanent or a permanent part-time employee and are not having your contracted hours met, or if you feel that you have fallen victim to any sort of wage theft, please callus immediately on 1300 880 032 so we can get the issue rectified for you.  


Sleepover backpay – it’s not over yet 

It appears to be the new normal in the disability sector that some employers blatantly ignore the SCHADS Award and their own workplace enterprise agreement by regularly and systematically rostering staff to perform sleepover shifts for more than 8 hours.

Remember, the maximum award allowable sleepover is 8 hours, any time worked past this time limit should be paid at the applicable rate of pay.

After we uncovered that 9-hour sleepover shifts had been ongoing for years for workers at L’Arche Beni-Abbes, a disability services provider, we demanded they stop breaching the award and backpay for all affected staff both past and present.

They claimed they had back paid staff, but the amounts were incorrect. We investigated this further and found that on average they underpaid the backpay by more than $15 an hour. They resisted providing us with the requested information but when we threatened to take legal action they eventually agreed to pay the money owed properly.

Meanwhile, the Able sleepover debacle has come down to conciliation at the Fair Work Commission. This resulted from their deliberate attempts to ignore us, to hide the facts and to avoid making the right payments.

We believe some staff members at Able are still owed a substantial sum of money and we’ll sort this out with Fair Work.

If you’re still being rostered on sleepover shifts for more than 8 hours, or have been affected before, please give us a call on 1300 880 032.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email or complete our online contact form

Social Community and Disability Sector