Important update on Fair Work Commission SCHADS Award decision





The Fair Work Commission delivered a decision yesterday in relation to certain matters as part of the review of the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services SCHADS award.


The most significant part of the decision is to vary the rates of pay for casuals working overtime, and on weekends and public holidays.


The award currently provides that overtime, weekend and public holiday penalty payments for casuals are paid in substitution for the casual loading. 


  • The current decision will change that by providing that the 25% casual loading is paid in addition to those penalty rates. 
  • The decision acknowledges that this will result in an increased cost for employers, many of whom are reliant on government funding.  It is proposed that there will be a transitional process with the increased payments being phased in over two installments.  The purpose of the transitional process is to provide government time to consider the adequacy of current funding arrangements and whether there needs to be any adjustment. 
  • Currently it is proposed that the first installment would be an increase of 10% (out of a casual loading of 25%) and would take effect from 1 December 2019 and the final installment for the full 25% loading would take effect from 1 July 2020.  However, this proposed transitional process is subject to further submissions and consideration before finalising.
  • The immediate implication is that government will need to consider whether current funding and NDIS pricing is adequate to cover this cost. 
  • For employers, the decision creates a price disincentive against using casuals in preference to permanent employees to work overtime or on weekends and public holidays.  There is no change to the penalty rates for permanent part-time and full-time employees.