Download Your Free SCHADS Classifications Guide​

 

This comprehensive classification guide has been designed to provide clarity on the process of classifying positions under the SCHADS Award. Whether you are a seasoned HR professional or a new business owner starting out in this sector, we hope this guide will serve as your go-to resource. In this guide we will explore the following topics:

Correctly classifying employees – why is it important?

Who does the SCHADS Award apply to?

What are the four industry sectors / streams under the SCHADS Award?

Employee classification levels

How to decide which classification level applies to an employee

Pay points

SCHADS employee classifications summary

As always, if you require any further advice or support with understanding your obligations as an employer under any modern award, we recommend reaching out to the HR Connect team.

 

Simply fill in the following form and access your free SCHADS Award Classifications Guide.

Download Your Free SCHADS Classifications Guide​

 

This comprehensive classification guide has been designed to provide clarity on the process of classifying positions under the SCHADS Award. Whether you are a seasoned HR professional or a new business owner starting out in this sector, we hope this guide will serve as your go-to resource. In this guide we will explore the following topics:

Correctly classifying employees – why is it important?

Who does the SCHADS Award apply to?

What are the four industry sectors / streams under the SCHADS Award?

Employee classification levels

How to decide which classification level applies to an employee

Pay points

SCHADS employee classifications summary

As always, if you require any further advice or support with understanding your obligations as an employer under any modern award, we recommend reaching out to the HR Connect team.

Simply fill in the following form and access your free SCHADS Award Classifications Guide.

Correctly classifying employees – why is it important?

Performance Management Plan

Determining the correct modern award(s) that apply to your staff, and their correct classifications within this is important as modern awards provide for minimum terms and conditions that must be adhered to. Awards provide for different classification levels for employees (depending on their seniority and responsibilities) which in turn dictate the minimum wages which must be paid. The different employee classifications in the SCHADS Award appear in Schedules B to E

Put simply, you will not be able to ensure you are paying your staff compliantly unless you understand the award that applies to them and their classification level within this. 

Modern awards and classifications don’t apply as a matter of choice, and (subject to the limited exceptions explained further below) cannot be avoided simply by paying a higher wage or “over-award” payment. 

Clause 13.2 of the SCHADS Award states that “employers must advise their employees in writing of their classification upon commencement [of employment] and of any subsequent changes to their classification”. Failure to do so could potentially result in the employer to be fined for breaching the terms of the award.

Who does the SCHADS Award apply to?

The SCHADS Award covers employers and employees in the social, community, home care and disability services industry. The Award identifies four separate industry “streams” within the SCHADS industry, which in turn impact employee entitlements such as minimum rates and rostering provisions (such as minimum shift lengths and whether employees are allowed to work broken/split shifts). 

The four sectors/streams are: 

  • The crisis assistance and supported housing sector; 
  • The social and community services (SACS) sector; 
  • The home care sector; 
  • The family daycare scheme sector. 

We talk more about these in the downloadable guide. It is important to note that just because a business comes within the SCHADS Award, it does not necessarily mean that all of its employees will be covered by the SCHADS Award. 

For example, whilst the SCHADS Award covers clerical employees (eg those doing admin work) in the social and community services sector and family day care scheme sector, clerical employees in the crisis assistance & supported housing sector and the home care sector will not be covered by SCHADS Award and will be covered by the Clerks Private Sector Award instead. See FWO guidance on this here

Furthermore, the SCHADS Award will not generally apply to any health professionals employed by the organisation (speech pathologists, psychologists, etc) for whom the Health Professionals and Support Services Award will take preference. A nurse employed by the organisation will be covered by the Nurses Award. 

Whilst it is usually the case that modern awards do not apply to the most senior employees in a business, certain streams of the SCHADS Award apply to very senior employees, up to and including the CEO – we discuss this in more detail in the downloadable guide.

What are the four industry sectors / streams under the SCHADS Award?

We provide details about the four streams below. Which stream will cover your business will depend on the activities you are performing, you cannot simply choose the stream you would most like to apply! You can read the exact definitions of each stream in clause 3 of the Award. 

Home care stream 

This stream covers the provision of personal care, domestic assistance and/or home maintenance support to an aged person or a person with a disability in a private residence. A “private residence” for the purpose of coverage under the home care stream typically refers to a home that they own, rent or where they live with family or friends. 

An organisation that provides care to an aged person in a care home would generally be covered by the Aged Care Award instead. 

The home care stream covers roles that provide care and support services to individuals in their private residences that are unable to live independently in their own home. Home care enables elderly and disabled individuals to live in their own home rather than in an institutional setting such as a nursing home, hospital or respite centre. Services under the home care stream may also include helping individuals attend health care appointments and taking them to community engagements, so long as the main focus is about providing them personal care in their own home. 

As noted above, clerical employees working in this stream would generally be covered by the Clerks Award. 

Social and community services stream 

The social and community services sector (SACS) covers organisations that provide support services to individuals, families and communities such as disability services work, social, recreation, welfare, and youth work or community development work, including work in policy, advocacy or representation on behalf of organisations that undertake social and community services services. 

This stream covers roles at a range of skill levels ranging from unskilled to professional, together with clerical, administrative and managerial roles. This sector also covers the provision of personal care and domestic and lifestyle support to a person with a disability in a community and/or residential setting including respite centre and day services. 

Crisis assistance and supported housing sector 

This stream covers the provision of crisis assistance, temporary accommodation, transitional housing and supported housing services. This stream covers positions that focus on providing assistance and support to individuals experiencing homelessness or facing crisis situations. It includes roles in crisis accommodation facilities, shelters, and related services. 

Examples of crisis accommodation facilities include facilities like homeless shelters, women’s refuges, youth accommodation services, and emergency housing for individuals and families facing homelessness or crisis situations such as domestic violence. 

As noted above, clerical employees working in this stream would generally be covered by the Clerks Award. 

Family daycare scheme sector 

This stream covers the operation of a family daycare scheme for the provision of family daycare services. In other words, it covers employers and employees that are involved in the administration of family daycare services, not the carers / educators providing the childcare themselves (who would be covered by the Childrens’ Services Award). 

What if my business does work in more than one stream? 

In most cases an organisation will just be covered by one stream, which will be determined by the main activities of the organisation (i.e. what services it provides for the majority of clients). It will only usually be where the organisation has a strict separation of functions where more than one stream will apply, for example if one arm of the organisation operates a home care service and one arm operates a community service service. 

Likewise, an individual employee will usually be covered by just one stream, depending on the main purpose of the work they perform. It would only be where an employee is working across different functions of the business and it was clear that (for example) a particular shift was a home care shift and a particular different shift was a SACS shift, that it would be possible to classify them separately for each shift. 

In most circumstances, it is unlikely that an employee would work under two different streams in the Award. 

What is the difference between the home care and SACS streams? 

A common source of confusion is deciding whether an organisation operates in the home care or SACS stream, particularly where a client is being provided some services in their private home and some services outside of the home in a community setting. 

A note in the Award itself at clause 3.1 states: “To avoid doubt, an employee will not be precluded from being engaged under Schedule B [ie the schedule for SACS employees], instead of another schedule, merely because they provide services in a private residence or in outreach.” 

This makes it clear that an employee could provide SACS-type services (such as to do with community integration, etc) albeit delivering them wholly or partly in someone’s private home, and still be covered by the SACS stream. 

Equally, it is possible for a home care employee involved in providing personal care in a private home (eg help with washing, dressing, etc) to also carry out some services outside of the home. This is clear from the descriptions of the different classification levels in Schedule B (SACS) and Schedule E (home care) to the Award. For example, “accompanying clients on outings” is listed as an example of a duty that a Level 2 home care employee might perform. 

Some cases where the Fair Work Commission have considered the distinction between home care and SACS classifications are: 

  • Australian Municipal, Administrative, Clerical and Services Union v Focus ACT [2021] FWC 2391 where an “Accommodation Support Worker” was found to be under the home care stream, where the purpose of the role was: “…to assist people to live as independently as possible and to be part of the community. The type of support is tailored to each individual and may include a combination of domestic, personal and social assistance. The duties broadly include providing support to clients to enable them to achieve their goals in line with their personal support plan, assisting clients with their personal and health needs, assisting and supporting clients to develop independence by facilitating participation in budgeting, shopping and related tasks of managing their own homes, and undertaking domestic and household duties. Additionally, the relevant employees assist clients to develop and maintain personal, community and social relationships and provide information about community resources and networks.” 
  • Corporate Development Services (Australia) Pty Ltd And WAPDAS Pty Ltd T/A Direct Care Resources [2023] FWCA 3050 – where Support Workers were also found to be home care employees on similar grounds. 

Correctly classifying employees – why is it important?

Performance Management Plan

Determining the correct modern award(s) that apply to your staff, and their correct classifications within this is important as modern awards provide for minimum terms and conditions that must be adhered to. Awards provide for different classification levels for employees (depending on their seniority and responsibilities) which in turn dictate the minimum wages which must be paid. The different employee classifications in the SCHADS Award appear in Schedules B to E

Put simply, you will not be able to ensure you are paying your staff compliantly unless you understand the award that applies to them and their classification level within this. 

Modern awards and classifications don’t apply as a matter of choice, and (subject to the limited exceptions explained further below) cannot be avoided simply by paying a higher wage or “over-award” payment. 

Clause 13.2 of the SCHADS Award states that “employers must advise their employees in writing of their classification upon commencement [of employment] and of any subsequent changes to their classification”. Failure to do so could potentially result in the employer to be fined for breaching the terms of the award.

Who does the SCHADS Award apply to?

The SCHADS Award covers employers and employees in the social, community, home care and disability services industry. The Award identifies four separate industry “streams” within the SCHADS industry, which in turn impact employee entitlements such as minimum rates and rostering provisions (such as minimum shift lengths and whether employees are allowed to work broken/split shifts). 

The four sectors/streams are: 

  • The crisis assistance and supported housing sector; 
  • The social and community services (SACS) sector; 
  • The home care sector; 
  • The family daycare scheme sector. 

We talk more about these in the downloadable guide. It is important to note that just because a business comes within the SCHADS Award, it does not necessarily mean that all of its employees will be covered by the SCHADS Award. 

For example, whilst the SCHADS Award covers clerical employees (eg those doing admin work) in the social and community services sector and family day care scheme sector, clerical employees in the crisis assistance & supported housing sector and the home care sector will not be covered by SCHADS Award and will be covered by the Clerks Private Sector Award instead. See FWO guidance on this here

Furthermore, the SCHADS Award will not generally apply to any health professionals employed by the organisation (speech pathologists, psychologists, etc) for whom the Health Professionals and Support Services Award will take preference. A nurse employed by the organisation will be covered by the Nurses Award. 

Whilst it is usually the case that modern awards do not apply to the most senior employees in a business, certain streams of the SCHADS Award apply to very senior employees, up to and including the CEO – we discuss this in more detail in the downloadable guide.

What are the four industry sectors / streams under the SCHADS Award?

We provide details about the four streams below. Which stream will cover your business will depend on the activities you are performing, you cannot simply choose the stream you would most like to apply! You can read the exact definitions of each stream in clause 3 of the Award. 

Home care stream 

This stream covers the provision of personal care, domestic assistance and/or home maintenance support to an aged person or a person with a disability in a private residence. A “private residence” for the purpose of coverage under the home care stream typically refers to a home that they own, rent or where they live with family or friends. 

An organisation that provides care to an aged person in a care home would generally be covered by the Aged Care Award instead. 

The home care stream covers roles that provide care and support services to individuals in their private residences that are unable to live independently in their own home. Home care enables elderly and disabled individuals to live in their own home rather than in an institutional setting such as a nursing home, hospital or respite centre. Services under the home care stream may also include helping individuals attend health care appointments and taking them to community engagements, so long as the main focus is about providing them personal care in their own home. 

As noted above, clerical employees working in this stream would generally be covered by the Clerks Award. 

Social and community services stream 

The social and community services sector (SACS) covers organisations that provide support services to individuals, families and communities such as disability services work, social, recreation, welfare, and youth work or community development work, including work in policy, advocacy or representation on behalf of organisations that undertake social and community services services. 

This stream covers roles at a range of skill levels ranging from unskilled to professional, together with clerical, administrative and managerial roles. This sector also covers the provision of personal care and domestic and lifestyle support to a person with a disability in a community and/or residential setting including respite centre and day services. 

Crisis assistance and supported housing sector 

This stream covers the provision of crisis assistance, temporary accommodation, transitional housing and supported housing services. This stream covers positions that focus on providing assistance and support to individuals experiencing homelessness or facing crisis situations. It includes roles in crisis accommodation facilities, shelters, and related services. 

Examples of crisis accommodation facilities include facilities like homeless shelters, women’s refuges, youth accommodation services, and emergency housing for individuals and families facing homelessness or crisis situations such as domestic violence. 

As noted above, clerical employees working in this stream would generally be covered by the Clerks Award. 

Family daycare scheme sector 

This stream covers the operation of a family daycare scheme for the provision of family daycare services. In other words, it covers employers and employees that are involved in the administration of family daycare services, not the carers / educators providing the childcare themselves (who would be covered by the Childrens’ Services Award). 

What if my business does work in more than one stream? 

In most cases an organisation will just be covered by one stream, which will be determined by the main activities of the organisation (i.e. what services it provides for the majority of clients). It will only usually be where the organisation has a strict separation of functions where more than one stream will apply, for example if one arm of the organisation operates a home care service and one arm operates a community service service. 

Likewise, an individual employee will usually be covered by just one stream, depending on the main purpose of the work they perform. It would only be where an employee is working across different functions of the business and it was clear that (for example) a particular shift was a home care shift and a particular different shift was a SACS shift, that it would be possible to classify them separately for each shift. 

In most circumstances, it is unlikely that an employee would work under two different streams in the Award. 

What is the difference between the home care and SACS streams? 

A common source of confusion is deciding whether an organisation operates in the home care or SACS stream, particularly where a client is being provided some services in their private home and some services outside of the home in a community setting. 

A note in the Award itself at clause 3.1 states: “To avoid doubt, an employee will not be precluded from being engaged under Schedule B [ie the schedule for SACS employees], instead of another schedule, merely because they provide services in a private residence or in outreach.” 

This makes it clear that an employee could provide SACS-type services (such as to do with community integration, etc) albeit delivering them wholly or partly in someone’s private home, and still be covered by the SACS stream. 

Equally, it is possible for a home care employee involved in providing personal care in a private home (eg help with washing, dressing, etc) to also carry out some services outside of the home. This is clear from the descriptions of the different classification levels in Schedule B (SACS) and Schedule E (home care) to the Award. For example, “accompanying clients on outings” is listed as an example of a duty that a Level 2 home care employee might perform. 

Some cases where the Fair Work Commission have considered the distinction between home care and SACS classifications are: 

  • Australian Municipal, Administrative, Clerical and Services Union v Focus ACT [2021] FWC 2391 where an “Accommodation Support Worker” was found to be under the home care stream, where the purpose of the role was: “…to assist people to live as independently as possible and to be part of the community. The type of support is tailored to each individual and may include a combination of domestic, personal and social assistance. The duties broadly include providing support to clients to enable them to achieve their goals in line with their personal support plan, assisting clients with their personal and health needs, assisting and supporting clients to develop independence by facilitating participation in budgeting, shopping and related tasks of managing their own homes, and undertaking domestic and household duties. Additionally, the relevant employees assist clients to develop and maintain personal, community and social relationships and provide information about community resources and networks.” 
  • Corporate Development Services (Australia) Pty Ltd And WAPDAS Pty Ltd T/A Direct Care Resources [2023] FWCA 3050 – where Support Workers were also found to be home care employees on similar grounds. 

Need More Help?

 

All advice is general in nature, but we know every business is unique in its needs.

For advice specific to your situation, please get in touch with one of our HR advisors.

 

Our team at HR Connect are able to offer unlimited workplace advice in real-time. If you need any assistance with payroll processing, employment contracts, Modern Awards, enterprise agreements, workplace advice or require access to our full HR document library, contact us to speak with one of our HR advisors.

Need More Help?

 

All advice is general in nature, but we know every business is unique in its needs.

For advice specific to your situation, please get in touch with one of our HR advisors.

 

Our team at HR Connect are able to offer unlimited workplace advice in real-time. If you need any assistance with payroll processing, employment contracts, Modern Awards, enterprise agreements, workplace advice or require access to our full HR document library, contact us to speak with one of our HR advisors.

Related resources

10 Point Compliance Checklist

10 Point HR Compliance Checklist

Download our complimentary 10 Point Compliance Check to ensure compliance and help identify areas of risk to your business today.

Guide to Employee Entitlements on a Transfer of Business

Guide to Employee Entitlements on a Transfer of Business

Our team of expert HR advisors has prepared this guide on what happens to employee entitlements during a transfer of business.

Managing Underperformance Checklist

Managing Underperformance Checklist

In this checklist, we provide business owners and managers with a guideline to managing underperformance in the workplace.

Related resources

10 Point Compliance Checklist

10 Point HR Compliance Checklist

Download our complimentary 10 Point Compliance Check to ensure compliance and help identify areas of risk to your business today.

Guide to Employee Entitlements on a Transfer of Business

Guide to Employee Entitlements on a Transfer of Business

Our team of expert HR advisors has prepared this guide on what happens to employee entitlements during a transfer of business.

Managing Underperformance Checklist

Managing Underperformance Checklist

In this checklist, we provide business owners and managers with a guideline to managing underperformance in the workplace.

FAQs

 

Questions?
We have answers.

What is the SCHADS Award?

The Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services (“SCHADS”) Award is an industry award which covers employers throughout Australia in the: Crisis assistance and supported housing sector, Social and community services sector, Home care sector, and Family day care scheme sector.

Who does the award cover?

The award covers employers operating in the above sectors and their employees as outlined within the relevant classifications. This can include employees such as support workers, support coordinators, personal care workers and case managers.

What changes were made in 2023 and 2024?

The only notable change made in 2023 impacted eligible employees under the Aged Care Award, Nurses Award, and SCHADS Award. On 30 June 2023, these eligible employees were entitled to a 15% minimum wage increase. This was the only significant change to the SCHADS Award in 2023, which impacted the minimum wage increase for direct care workers.

Download Your Free SCHADS Classifications Guide

Download Your Free SCHADS Classifications Guide