Helpdesk Top 5: August
The NDS Helpdesk team has chosen the top five responses from the helpdesk on non-face-to-face funding for SIL providers, international police checks, administering medications, new seven-day cancellation policy, and the SCHADS award.
Is it mandatory for Disability Support Workers to have a minimum of Certificate IV before they can administer medication?
The NDIS Commission and NDIS Practice Standards does not specify what level of qualification a support worker must have to administer medications. Rather, the expectation is that staff administering medication have the appropriate skills and capabilities. The Practice Standards include a standard related to medication management. The standard expects that a provider "administers, stores and monitors the effects of [a participant's] medication and works to prevent errors or incidents”.
To achieve this outcome, the Quality Indicators state the following should be demonstrated:
Records clearly identify the medication and dosage required by each participant, including all information required to correctly identify the participant and to safely administer the medication. All workers responsible for administering medication understand the effects and side-effects of the medication and the steps to take in the event of an incident involving medication. All medications are stored safely and securely, can be easily identified and differentiated, and are only accessed by appropriately trained workers.
Depending on the nature of the medication being given, additional training may be required. For example, the High Intensity Skills Descriptors note that " Where a support worker administers epilepsy medication such as Midazolam, they also need training in medication specific emergency management procedures".
Additional requirements also apply to medications for other conditions. The NDIS Commission has released practice alerts related to some medications that may also assist in identifying any additional training that may be required by workers.
Can SIL providers invoice non face-to-face (NF2F) costs from Core funding, or are NF2F costs included in SIL funding?
The reduction in SIL funding generally means there is no extra money in SIL funds to pay any NF2F. The Agency informed NDS that providers are able to claim for non face-to-face supports from Core funding. They indicated that this should be done by claiming using the regular SIL line item number and claiming this as non-face to face services from core funding.
Is an International police check a requirement for a Victorian disability worker who has worked overseas for more than 12 months over the last 10 years? Or does the requirement only apply if workers have lived 'continuously' in one country for 12 months or more in the last 10 years?
There is no requirement under the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework for disability workers to have an international police check (or police check of any kind other than the NDIS worker screening clearance or ‘NDIS check’).
Under the updated Victorian Safety Screening Policy for funded organisations, workers who are employed by NDIS registered organisations (and therefore, who hold a NDIS worker screening clearance) do not need to have a police check or international police check.
Workers in a client/participant facing role who are employed by an unregistered NDIS provider and do not have an NDIS check, will need to have a police check if they work for a DFFH-funded organisation.
NDS understands that an international police check is only required for people who have lived overseas for a stint of over 12 months (continuously) in the last 10 years and that this does not apply to those who, for example, lived for three months overseas in 2015, and nine months overseas in 2018.
Has NDS received feedback from Support Coordinators and participants about the new seven-day cancellation policy? With the impact of winter flu and Omicron Covid-19 on services, which looks like it will be for quite a while, are providers reporting that they are experiencing any pushback with this change?
To date, NDS has not had feedback from providers around any pushback regarding the seven-day cancellation notice period. It is early days of the change, however, and providers are likely to be still communicating with their participants around the change to short notice cancellations and updating their own policies to reflect this change. NDS will monitor this as providers start to implement this new cancellation period.
How does the SCHADS Award apply when staff join a meeting and/or training which is less than two hours when they connect online from their own home? If an employee is not on call, the employer is required to pay them a minimum of one hour’s pay. And if the remote work involves staff meetings or training, it’s also a minimum of one hour’s pay. When staff meetings are rostered monthly and are regular, is joining the meeting from home considered remote work, and therefore payment less than two hours or a minimum two hours for a rostered monthly staff meeting whether staff attend in person or online?
Remote work (clause 25.10) cannot be part of rostered ordinary hours or designated shift. It also cannot be additional hours to guaranteed hours for part-time employees or overtime contiguous with rostered shift. Staff meetings/training remotely can be remote work so long as it is not undertaken in the circumstances referred to above. So long as this is the case there is scope for a one-hour minimum payment as per 25.10 (c)(D).
If the meetings/training are regularly rostered, the main question is whether this is as ordinary hours. If so, it will NOT be remote work. If it is rostered outside of ordinary hours but not overtime immediately after a shift, then it may qualify as remote work. As an example, if an employee worked 9-5pm Mon-Fri as their rostered ordinary hours, remote work cannot apply during these hours nor can it apply during overtime immediately after one of these shifts.
However, if the employer required the staff meeting/training after hours, eg 7pm on one of these days after the employee finished at 5pm, then this may qualify as remote work.
Payment obligations for staff meetings/training in other circumstances beyond this is usually dependant on whether they are voluntary or compulsory. If voluntary, then no payment is required because there is no requirement to attend but employers should confirm this very clearly. If it is compulsory, then the standard minimum payments of two or three hours (whichever applies) may be claimed by the employee.
"Working from home" and "remote work" are not necessarily the same thing for SCHADS Award purposes. "Work from home" can generally occur at any time where this is authorised by employers and does not change standard payment obligations.