Last night I was looking through the Fairwork Australia website and happen to come across a webinar for the National Children’s Services Award which what the childcare wages are based on. They listed responses to the most FAQ’s asked. The Q&A’s listed are on pay, leave, hours, roster, breaks and casuals. It has definitely cleared up some doubts I was having with the Award and wages as well as provided me with some new info that I didn’t know. I think it’s very important that you are aware of this information as I believe it will help understand what is expected of you and your employer in regards to wages, pay, hours etc.
When can we pay time in lieu instead of overtime?
An employer and employee can agree to take time off in lieu of overtime payments. The time off is at the overtime rate. That is, if the employee works an hour of overtime worth time and a half then they can take an hour and a half off later with pay.
What if we have an Enterprise Agreement, or Australian Workplace Agreements?
If you have an Enterprise Agreement, or Australian Workplace Agreements, the base rates of pay in the agreement can’t be less than the base rates of pay for equivalent classifications under the modern award. The agreement can’t undercut any of the 10 National Employment Standards. Other than that, entitlements will come from the agreement until it is either terminated or replaced.
Where do I get a pay rate for an employee with a teaching degree?
Read clause 4 ‘Coverage’ in the Children’s Services Award and decide which modern award applies. They may be covered by another modern award.
What pay rates apply to a business that started after 1 January 2010?
If your business started on or after 1 January 2010 you still pay the transitional rates of pay from Schedule A. you can use PayCheck Plus to get these rates.
We provide a uniform shirt for our employees and a washing machine for them to wash them in. Do we still need to pay a laundry allowance?
The award doesn’t deal with this. It only says that where an employee is required to launder any special clothing they get a laundry allowance. See clause 15.2 for details.
Can an employee on maternity leave ask to come back to her position part-time? She was previously full-time.
Parents returning to work after taking parental leave have the right to request flexible working arrangements. This includes asking to come back to their job part-time. Your employee needs to request this in writing. Your responsibility is to respond in writing to the request within 21 days. You can only refuse the request on reasonable business grounds.
In a twelve month period how many 2-day blocks of compassionate leave can be taken?
Compassionate leave is available to employees when a member of the employee’s immediate family or household has a personal illness or injury that poses a serious threat to his/her life or dies. There is no cap on how often compassionate leave can be granted. An employee must provide reasonable evidence on request.
Is there a cap for the number of sick days that can be accrued during the time of employment?
Sick days (personal leave) don’t have a cap. They accrue at 10 days per year.
Ordinary hours of work
What are ordinary hours under the Children’s Services Award?
The ordinary hours for a full-time employee are an average of 38 hours per week. These can be averaged over 1 week, 2 week or 4 week cycles.
Ordinary hours are no more than 8 hours per day (excluding meal breaks) between Monday and Friday, 6am to 6.30pm. However, an employer and an employee may agree in an individual flexibility arrangement to work up to a maximum of 10 ordinary hours per day.
How are ordinary hours counted? Should I count lunch breaks?
Lunch breaks aren’t paid and don’t count as time worked, so they aren’t counted when calculating ordinary hours. However, paid rest pauses do count as ordinary hours.
Is an employee’s paid programming time included as part of their 38 ordinary hours per week?
Yes. Employees who are responsible for preparing, implementing and/or evaluating a developmental program get a minimum of 2 hours per week to plan, prepare, evaluate and program activities. These 2 hours count as part of their ordinary hours.
Can I roster an employee’s 38 weekly hours over 4 shifts a week of 9.5 hours each day, if they sign an individual flexible arrangement?
Yes. An employee can work up to a maximum of 10 hours in any one day where the employee and employer enter into an individual flexibility arrangement. For any individual flexibility arrangement, the employee must be better off overall.
Some children’s services centres have staff working 4 days a week, where each day is longer, and staff get the fifth day off. They don’t work over 38 hours a week. Do they get penalty rates?
It depends. Ordinary hours shouldn’t exceed 8 per day. An employee who works outside the ordinary hours is paid at overtime rates.
However, an employee may work up to a maximum of 10 hours in any one day where the employee and employer enter into an individual flexibility arrangement. If there’s a valid individual flexibility arrangement then only hours outside the agreed hours are paid at overtime rates.
Do staff meetings out of usual centre hours count for penalty rates/overtime if the employee has already done 8 hours that day?
All paid time worked is counted when calculating penalty rates and overtime. Paid staff meetings count towards an employee’s ordinary hours. Where this means they’ve worked over the ordinary hours, they should be paid overtime rates.
Please note: compulsory staff meetings count as time worked and must be paid.
What notice do I give to change a roster for a casual or part-time employee?
For full-time and part-time employees changes should be agreed to by the employer and employee and put in writing. If you can’t agree, you can change their roster by giving 7 days notice.
The award does not have a period of notice to change a casual employee’s roster.
What is an employee entitled to if they have to stay back to cover for someone who has to leave early?
If the employee works outside ordinary hours they’re entitled to be paid overtime.
Ordinary hours are no more than 8 hours per day (excluding meal breaks) Monday and Friday between 6am and 6:30pm.
What should I do if my employees want to work long days so they can have a day off per week? Can I agree with them not to pay penalty rates?
No. You could make an individual flexibility arrangement with your employee, however the employee must be no worse off.
An employee may work up to a maximum of 10 hours in any one day where the employee and employer enter into an individual flexibility arrangement. If they have an individual flexibility arrangement then only hours outside the agreed hours are paid at overtime rates. However, the employee must still be better off overall so they would have to be paid enough to compensate for the penalty rates they would otherwise have received.
Can a part-time employee be sent home if we’ve reached our staff-child ratio for the day?
No. The award doesn’t have a clause that lets you send part-time employees home when a centre’s staff-child ratio has been reached. If a part-time employee is sent home before their scheduled finish time, they should be paid for the full scheduled shift, as if they had worked it.
How much notice do employees have to give if they want a day off?
Neither the award or the National Employment Standards set a notice period for employees to give when requesting leave.
Paid annual leave can be taken for a period agreed to between the employer and the employee. The employer must not unreasonably refuse a request by the employee to take paid annual leave.
What breaks do I have to give if an employee who works less than 7 hours in a day?
An employee who works less than 7 hours a day is entitled to:
• 1 unpaid meal break of at least 30 minutes, and no more than 1 hour
• 1 paid rest break of at least 10 minutes.
What is the total break time for a full-time employee in a day?
A full-time employee who works 7.6 hours a day (i.e. 38 hours divided by 5) is entitled to:
• 1 unpaid meal break of at least 30 minutes, and no more than 1 hour
• 2 paid rest breaks of at least 10 minutes.
Is a full-time employee still full-time if they work less than 7 hours in a day?
It depends. The ordinary hours of work for full-time employees are 38 hours per week, averaged over 1, 2 or 4 weeks. An employee who works less than 7 hours on one day, but overall works an average of 38 hours per week, is still be a full-time employee.
However, an employee who works less than an average of 38 hours per week will be considered a part-time employee.
Who can be a casual under the award? For example, we employ casuals using ISS grants.
Casuals are defined as an employee engaged for temporary and relief purposes. If the nature of an ISS grant means that the job is temporary then casual employment will fit with this award.
I believe the casual loading is 24% and will not change to 25% until next year. Is that right?
If the casual loading in your pre-modern award was less than 25% then it will be phasing up. Phasing ends next year and every casual will then get the full casual loading of 25%.
About the audit
Can we use the pay slips from Quickbooks or other computer software?
Yes, as long as they comply with the Regulation 3.46 of the Fair Work Regulations 2009 . Pay slips must be issued to employees within one working day of being paid wages or salary.
Our employees complete a sign-in sheet when they arrive for work and some arrive early. They don’t start their rostered hours until later. Will you only be auditing their rostered hours?
Time and wage records will be requested from employers selected for audit. A timesheet should be signed on commencement and cessation of the work shift. If the employee signs a timesheet early (prior to the commencement of the rostered shift) the employer will need to demonstrate the employee was not working during this time. Employees are to be paid for all hours worked.
If you find any errors in our 2-week sample of payroll records, what will happen?
A Fair Work Inspector will assess all records provided to identify compliance. If errors are identified, they will contact you directly to discuss the issues identified and discuss with you how you can fix them.
If the contravention is of a monetary nature, the Inspector will request the employer to conduct a self-audit for a period of up to 12 months and work with the employer to address all issues. Education and assistance will be provided to the employer to help rectify any contraventions identified.
What period will you be auditing? Will it be the same for all the employers you audit? Does the Fair Work Ombudsman decide what period will be audited or should the service decide which 2 weeks of records to submit to you?
We will select a 2-week audit period, which will be after the date of the webinar. The audit date will be the same for all businesses selected for audit.
Does the audit affect any children’s services covered by any of the educational services awards?
These awards are outside the scope of the campaign. Employees covered under these awards will not be assessed during the audit.
Ref: http://www.fairwork.gov.au/resources/we ... -faqs.aspx
I really hope this clears up some of the confusion any of you are having in regards to the questions asked above,