Broken shifts in the Social, Community, Home Care & Disability Services Award
Broken shifts only apply to:
- social and community services employees when undertaking disability services work
- home care employees.
There are no provisions in the award for other employees to work broken shifts.
What’s a broken shift?
It’s a shift that includes 1 or 2 unpaid breaks from work.
A meal break doesn’t break a shift.
Whether time spent travelling breaks a shift will depend on whether the travelling time is considered to be time worked by the employee. See Travel time outside a minimum payment period for more information.
Vic is a home care employee.
On Wednesday Vic works from 9am to 12pm and from 3pm to 6pm. This is a broken shift.
Rostering broken shifts
A broken shift can span a maximum of 12 hours. Any work performed on a broken shift beyond the 12 hour span is paid at 200% of the employee’s minimum hourly rate.
A broken shift can only include 2 unpaid breaks if the employee agrees to it. The employee must agree each time they work a broken shift with 2 breaks, unless it’s part of a part-time employee’s agreed regular pattern of work.
Employees must get at least 10 hours’ break before their next shift or broken shift.
The award doesn’t set a minimum amount of time between work periods in a broken shift.
An employee working a broken shift is paid:
- the greater of the hours they work or their minimum payment periods if they apply
- a broken shift allowance
- weekend and public holiday penalty rates if they apply
- overtime if it applies
- shift allowances if they apply
- casual loading if it applies.
Shift allowances are calculated separately for each period of work in a broken shift.
The amount of the broken shift allowance depends on whether the broken shift has 1 or 2 breaks. A higher amount applies if there are 2 breaks. To calculate the allowance amount, use our Pay and Conditions Tool.
Minimum payment periods for part-time and casual employees
Part-time and casual employees get at least 2 hours’ pay for each period of work in a broken shift, even if they are rostered to work less.
If a break in work falls within a minimum payment period, the break doesn’t count as a break in work for the purposes of the broken shift allowance. It must be counted and paid for as time worked.
Travel time during the minimum payment period must also be counted and paid for as time worked. If an employee is directed to use their own vehicle for travel during this time in the course of their duties, travel allowance may be payable.
Sadia is a part-time disability services shiftworker.
Sadia has agreed to work a broken shift with 2 breaks on a Wednesday. She is rostered to work 3 periods of work commencing at 10.00 am, 1.30 pm and 5.30 pm.
1st period of work
During the first period of work, Sadia:
- attends to a client at home from 10am to 10.30am
- travels 30 minutes to a second client arriving at 11am
- spends 45 minutes with the second client finishing at 11:45am.
Sadia spends 1.25 hours of the first period of work working with clients and 30 minutes travelling. She gets paid a minimum payment of 2 hours for this part of the shift at her minimum hourly rate.
She then has a break of 1.75 hours until the next period of work starts at 1.30pm.
2nd period of work
During the second period of work, Sadia works with a single client from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. She gets paid 2 hours for this part of the shift at her minimum hourly rate.
Sadia then has a break of 2 hours before the next period of work starts at 5.30pm.
3rd period of work
During the third period of work, Sadia:
- attends to a client at their home from 5.30pm to 7pm
- travels 15 minutes to another client arriving at 7.15pm
- spends 2 hours working with the client and finishes at 9.15pm.
Sadia is paid for the 3.75 hours she works for this period. An afternoon shift is a shift finishing after 8pm and at or before midnight, Monday to Friday. Because this part of the shift finishes after 8pm, it’s paid at the afternoon shift rate.
Sadia’s broken shift has 2 breaks in work and is worked over 11.25 hours.
Over the course of the shift she’ll be paid:
- 4 hours at her minimum hourly rate
- 3.75 hours at the afternoon shift rate of 112.5% of her minimum hourly rate (this shift rate applies for the entire 3rd period of work because the shift finishes after 8pm)
- the 2 break broken shift allowance
- travel time during the minimum payment period
- any other allowances such as travel allowance that may apply.
In some circumstances, travel time outside a minimum payment period may be considered to be time worked by an employee.
Any travel time that’s considered to be time worked won't break a shift, and must be paid at the employee’s hourly rate, including any penalty rates that apply.
An employee may still be working a broken shift even if their travel time is considered to be time worked, if they don’t travel for the whole period of the break.
Some of the factors that may indicate that time spent travelling should be treated as time worked are:
- whether an employee could otherwise be considered to be performing work during the travel time, for example because they’re transporting laundry, food or medication to a client
- whether an employee’s contract specifically includes travelling between clients as part of their duties
- how the employee was rostered, for example if they were rostered for a single shift that includes travel between clients with no designated break.
Reynard is a home care employee who was rostered to work a broken shift on Thursday. He worked with his first client between 9am and 11am, and with his second client from 2pm to 4pm. Reynard didn’t return home between seeing his clients.
Reynard’s employer told him to deliver medications to his second client, and directed him to use his own vehicle. It took him 30 minutes to drive to his client’s house.
Because Reynard was delivering medications, he was considered to be working during the period he spent travelling to his second client’s house. Reynard is paid for the 30 minutes he spent travelling. He’ll also receive the broken shift allowance and the vehicle allowance.
Whether time spent travelling should be treated as time worked will depend on the specific facts of each matter. Employers and employees should consider getting independent advice about their own circumstances.
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