We were contacted by workers at LEAP who are concerned about the introduction of new “essential shifts” and the possibility that there may be less staff available as a result. The message that LEAP sent to staff raised a lot of questions, so we contacted CEO Paul Collins to ask more.
Here’s a summary of the questions and LEAP’s responses:
What is the impact on shifts? Will notice requirements for roster changes be complied with? Will employees be asked to explicitly agree to any change to their normal pattern of work?
"Our priority is to only change location of shifts and not times. We may ask an employee if they are happy to change shift times etc as a worst-case scenario and will ensure that agreed changes do not have a negative impact on the employees’ earnings."
Will participants who are required to have one-on-one support receive it? What is LEAP doing to reduce any liability members may face?
"As part of LEAP’s management plan, we have completed risk assessments to create a hierarchy of support to prepare for scenarios where employee illness impact on LEAP’s ability to provide services. The risk assessment considers the safety of employees, participants and others. We will only decrease support ratios for participants that already share supports as part of their roster with the aim of limiting the decreased support to participant capacity building and activities not critical to participants and employee safety and well being. All changes of supports will be notified to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission."
So, confirming receipt of the message does not mean you agree to any changes. Similarly, you need to explicitly agree to any change in shift patterns if they aren’t within your permanent part-time pattern of work. If you have concerns about the impact on participants’ safety or your own liability due to staffing members, make sure to document it. The NDIS Commission is there for participants, and you need to ensure that you are similarly protected by a paper trail if anything goes wrong.