Understanding the award
HR in Practice has analysed some of the key features of the industry award to explain how it affects you and your practice.
Physiotherapists employed in a private practice are covered by the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010 (those who work in unincorporated practices in Western Australia are not covered by this award). Given this, the HR in Practice service looks at some key features of the award to help employers understanding their rights and obligations.
Who does the award cover?
The award covers physiotherapists and their support staff. Each employee will have a classification that differs depending on their duties, experience and qualifications. There are separate classification structures for health professionals (physiotherapists) and support staff.
Types of employment
Full time: an employee who works 38 hours, or an average of 38 hours per week. Part time: an employee who works less than 38 hours per week on a regular and systematic basis. They need to have their number of ordinary hours, days and start and finishing times agreed to before starting employment. Casual: an employee who works ‘as needed’ and receives a 25 per cent loading. In October 2018, a casual conversion clause was added to the award allowing regular casuals to request permanent employment after 12 months.
Termination of employment
When resigning an employee needs to give the following notice period depending on their length of service: Less than a year: one week; more than one year but not more than three years, two weeks; more than three years but not more than five years, three weeks and more than five years: four weeks. An employment contract may provide a greater notice period. If an employee does not give the required notice, the employer can withhold a maximum of one weeks’ pay from money owed.
Consultation with employees who are going to be, or who are likely to be, affected by a major workplace change is required, this includes when redundancies are being considered. If a role is being made redundant, the award provides some specific provisions.
Hours of work
An employee can work up to a maximum of 10 ordinary hours per day. For each four hours of work, an employee is entitled to a 10-minute paid tea break, and those who work in excess of five hours in one day are entitled to an unpaid meal break of no less than 30 minutes.
Span of hours
The span of hours refers to the times in which ordinary hours can be worked by employees. The Fair Work Commission recently proposed to extend the span of hours for physiotherapy practices, but has not yet implemented. Contact the APA HR in Practice service for more details.
Common penalty rates
Overtime: time and a half for the first two hours, and double time thereafter, shift work: 15 per cent loading, ordinary hours on Saturday: 50 per cent loading, Sunday (overtime): double time, public holidays: double time and a half, casual employees on weekends: 75 per cent loading instead of 25 per cent loading for all time worked on weekends.
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