The major award changes

 

HR in practice explain the changes to the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010.

A significant change to the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010 is about to come into effect. Specifically, the span of hours will change from the first full pay period commencing on or after 9 July 2019.

An announcement regarding this change, as well as other minor changes to the award, was issued to members in January. So what is this significant change, and what does it mean for your practice?

Since the introduction of the award on 1 January 2010, physiotherapy businesses have been bound by the following span of hours: 6.00 am–6.00 pm Monday to Friday, and 6am–12 noon on Saturdays.

This will change from the first full pay period commencing on or after 9 July 2019 and the new span of hours for physiotherapy businesses are: 7.30 am–9.00 pm Monday to Friday, and 8.00 am–4.30 pm on Saturdays.

What is the span of hours?

The span of hours dictates when ordinary hours can be worked (mostly) without penalties or loadings. As it stands, the current span of hours on Saturdays is from 6.00 am to 12.00 noon. Any hours worked beyond noon are paid at the applicable overtime rate.

From the first full pay period commencing on or after 9 July 2019, all ordinary hours worked by a permanent employee on Saturday between 8.00 am and 4.30 pm are just paid with a 50 per cent loading (meaning double time is no longer required from the third hour after noon).

Casual employees currently receive a 75 per cent loading instead of their normal 25 per cent loading for all time worked on Saturdays. This will not change.

Working after 6.00 pm on weekdays.

Within the current span of hours, all ordinary hours rostered to finish after 6.00 pm on weekdays are paid with a 15 per cent loading or overtime is being paid for all hours past 6.00 pm.
From the first full pay period commencing on or after 9 July 2019, neither will be applicable provided the employees ordinary hours finish before 9.00 pm.

To demonstrate this, let’s look at the following example based on an ordinary shift from 12.00 pm to 7.00 pm (weekday). Before 9 July all hours worked are paid with 15 per cent shift loading, from first full pay period commencing on or after 9 July all hours worked are paid at employee’s ordinary rate.

This has caused confusion for some, as the shift work clause of the award reads: ‘29.1 where the ordinary rostered hours of work of a shift worker finish between 6.00 pm and 8.00 am or commence between 6.00 pm and 6.00 am, the employee will be paid an additional loading of 15 per cent of their ordinary rate of pay.’

This has led some to believe that the change is immaterial for work performed after 6.00 pm, but a closer examination of the clause proves otherwise. Specifically, the term ‘shift worker’ is defined under the award as an employee who is regularly rostered to work their ordinary hours outside the span of hours.

Therefore, provided the employee finishes before 9.00 pm on a weekday (within the span of hours), they are not a shift worker and the 15 per cent penalty will not be applicable when a shift finishes after 6.00 pm but before 9.00 pm. The shift allowance will continue to apply if an employee’s ordinary rostered hours finish after 9.00 pm (eg, a shift of 3.00 pm–10.00 pm).

What will this mean for employees?

For the employee’s paid on the award rate, their rate of pay will be affected when performing work after noon on Saturday’s and after 6.00 pm on weekdays.

For the employee’s paid a higher rate (whether it is an all up hourly rate, salary or commission type arrangement), which was structured to absorb award penalties and loadings, they cannot have their rate of pay reduced.

Employers are also reminded to keep an eye on the National Wage Review decision which will effect minimum wages from the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 July 2019.

If you have any questions about this article, contact the HR in Practice service on hrinpractice@physiotherapy.asn.au.

Wentworth Advantage operates the HR in Practice workplace relations advisory service for APA Business group members. For more information on the benefits of joining the Business group, email info@physiotherapy.asn.au or call 1300 306 622.
 

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