Home Care staff transfer to the non-government sector FAQs

FAQs relating to the Home Care staff transfer to the non-government sector

What is the agreement for Home Care staff?

In 2015 Home Care will move to the non-government sector, and will be operated by a new owner.

The Department and unions representing Home Care workers have been working to determine how the transfer will work for staff, and the conditions that will apply when staff move to the new non-government operator of Home Care.

United Voice, the union representing care workers, has reached an agreement with the Government on these conditions. The Public Service Association (PSA), the union representing Home Care administration workers, has not.

In the absence of an agreement with the PSA, the Government has decided the same agreement will apply to all Home Care workers – both care workers, and administration workers.

The agreement covers several key areas, including a transfer payment, employment guarantee, and how entitlements will transfer. These are explained in detail below.

What is the transfer payment?

A transfer payment will be made for up to eight weeks pay, based on completed years of service for permanent staff.

The following table sets out the scale of transfer payment for completed years of service on the transfer date:

Continuous years of service Transfer payment schedule (weeks of base rate of pay)
Less than one year service0 weeks
One year or more but less than two years2 weeks
Two years or more but less than three years3.5 weeks
Three years or more but less than four years5 weeks
Four years or more but less than five years6 weeks
Five years or more but less than six years7 weeks
Six years or more8 weeks

 

The payment for part time employees is calculated based upon the average weekly hours worked in the 12 month period up to the transfer date, or contracted hours, whichever is the higher. It will not include overtime worked.

Periods of approved leave without pay (including parental leave) will not break continuity of service.

Periods of leave without pay for total contracted hours will be excluded for the purpose of calculating the years of completed service. Periods of part-time leave without pay will not affect the calculation of years of service.

The transfer payment is paid shortly after the time of transfer.

 

Will the transfer payment be taxed?

Yes the transfer payment will be taxed. The Government has sought a ruling from the Australian Taxation Office to determine if the transfer payment will qualify as an Employment Termination Payment, which would mean a lower level of tax applies. We will let you know the outcome of the ruling once it is known.

What is the employment guarantee?

For permanent staff, there is an employment guarantee for two years from the date of the transfer. For casual and temporary staff the guarantee is for a maximum of six months.

This means your employment can’t be terminated during the guarantee period unless you agree (except for cases of misconduct or discipline).

It also means your terms and conditions will not change during the guarantee period, unless agreed to or otherwise in accordance with industrial law.

What will happen after the two years?

The award will continue to apply for up to five years under the Fair Work Act, or until an agreement is made to replace it.

What happens to my leave?

Leave balances that are not cashed out transfer in full.

Arrangements are being made to allow Home Care employees to cash out accrued long service leave and annual leave in excess of 20 days as at the last day of service with FACS. 

All accrued annual leave and extended leave that is not cashed out will be transferred to the new employer.

We will let you know more as soon as the information becomes available.

What about leave loading?

If you choose to cash out your accrued annual leave, you will be granted payment of a proportionate amount of annual leave loading for the current leave year. Where the accrued annual leave is not cashed out, annual leave loading will carry across to the new employer to the extent permitted under the Fair Work Act.

How will I know if you have my leave balances correctly recorded?

Your service records will be audited to ensure that leave balances are correct. You’ll be given the chance to review the audit to confirm we’ve got it right. If you have a concern, there’ll be a process in place for you to raise it.

Will my continuity of service be recognised?

Yes. Recognised service from the old employer will count for service with the new employer.

What happens to my superannuation?

Your superannuation transfers with you. You won’t need to do anything– it will be an automatic process. This includes both defined benefit (such as SASS and SSS) and contribution schemes like First State Super.

What if I don’t want to go to the new employer?

The Department will review circumstances if an employee objects to the transfer to a particular employer because of a genuine religious or cultural reason, or because of a sensitive personal or family history in relation to an organisation where there has been public recognition of institutional failing.

Can I have my contract hours reviewed?

FACS will undertake a review of contracted hours for Care Workers in accordance with the Award provisions.

I’m a long term temporary employee, what does this mean for me?

The Department will regularise long term temporary employees in accordance with the rules issued by the NSW Public Service Commissioner. Regularising means that long term temporary employee’s employment can be converted to ongoing employment in accordance with the GSE Rules.

What about training and qualifications?

Home Care is continuing to invest in developing skills for current and future work in the disability and community care sector. The Home Care Professional Development Framework is a continuance of Home Care’s plan to have as many staff as possible receive relevant industry certificate training.

I’m not a member of United Voice, does this agreement cover me?

The agreement covers all Home Care workers, whether they are members of a union or not, and whether they are care workers or administration staff.

How are my entitlements safeguarded?

Your current employment entitlements are safeguarded by two pieces of legislation that place obligations on a new employer and the Government.

These are:

  • The NDIS (NSW Enabling) Act 2013
  • The Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009

The NSW Enabling Act provides for the transfer of accrued annual, long service/extended leave and sick leave entitlements and continuity of service and continuity of superannuation arrangements.

Taken together, the NSW Enabling Act and the Fair Work Act, provide significant protections for the award terms and conditions and accrued entitlements of transferring employees.

What if, after the transfer, my new employer tries to take away my employment guarantee or other transfer terms?

You will receive written confirmation of the terms and conditions of employment that will apply after transfer. That letter will come from the new provider, and will confirm directly to you details of the employment guarantee, transferred leave arrangements, application of state award terms after transfer, superannuation and continuity of service. You will be able to rely upon these terms as being binding in your new employment post transfer, and you or your representative will be able to use these terms (together with continuing state award terms and the Fair Work Act) to protect your transferred entitlements.

Why is Home Care moving to the non-government sector?

With the national aged care reforms, and implementation of the NDIS, all responsibility for the provision of supports to older people and people with disability will sit with the Commonwealth Government by 2018.

NSW will transfer all its funding for disability services, its whole specialist disability budget, into the NDIS by 2018. All that funding will be used to support people with disability and deliver individualised funding arrangements to around 140,000 people.

The NSW Government has determined that by 2018 all the services it provides directly to older people and people with disability will move into the non-Government sector.

By NSW transferring its direct services to the non-government sector it will simplify the service system and allow one level of Government – the Commonwealth – to have clear responsibility for the important reforms occurring in both aged and disability.

As the Government announced in September 2014, the transfer of services will start with the Home Care Service. The Home Care Service will be transferred as it is now – a complete Home Care, with a new operator targeted to be in place later in 2015.

When will Home Care transfer?

Home Care is likely to transfer later in 2015.

What does this change mean for clients?

In the future, Home Care’s existing clients will receive services from the new operator of Home Care.

We know that any change for older people and people with a disability that we support can be stressful and that this process needs to be handled sensitively, but if we manage it well they will notice little difference in their services.

All clients have received a letter about the decision. The letter included a 1800 number that they can call if they wish to discuss the letter.

There will be further communications to keep clients up to date at appropriate stages of the process.

For now, services should continue as normal and we all have a role to play in ensuring that clients are not unnecessarily concerned.

When and how will I know more?

Further details will be available in the coming weeks once the Government has selected a new operator.

You will continue to receive relevant information at stages throughout the process through a range of methods including letters, messages, team meetings and newsletters.

We have set up an e-mail inbox for you to send your feedback and questions. We will answer those questions as soon as possible, making the answers available to all Home Care staff.

Please email workingtogether@facs.nsw.gov.au or AboriginalWT@facs.nsw.gov.au.

 

Can my sick leave be paid out in cash?

Your sick leave cannot be cashed out and will be transferred in full to the new employer.

I began working with Home Care as an agency contractor and then moved to a permanent full time Service Coordinator position. To calculate my transfer payment, should I use the date I started as a contractor or the date I started in my permanent full time position?

To calculate the transfer payment, you should use the date you started in your permanent full time position.

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Page last modified by EH on June 13, 2017 at 9:13 am