Staff Memo 21-10-2020 #2

This policy provides guidelines for rosters and the relief pool at North West Support Services (NWSS).

For health and safety reasons the maximum number of hours generally available to an individual is 38 per week.

It is important to remember, as stated in our employment contract, that movement between work locations is a condition of employment.

Relinquishing and swapping shifts:
NWSS understands that staff will, from time to time, request to relinquish or swap a shift for important personal or social reasons.  If this is the case, you will need to contact the roster coordinator who will decide from the relief pool who will be offered the shift.  If you are aware of somebody who may be available to swap a shift with you, pass that information to the roster coordinator for their consideration.

Reasonable notice is required for relinquishing a shift or requesting a shift swap.  Please inform the roster coordinator whether your request is sick leave or for personal reasons.

If you are ill for more than one day a medical certificate must be pinned to your next timesheet.

If requests seem unreasonable or form a regular pattern the person will have to give up those shifts.

For all roster matters between the hours of 8.30am and 5pm weekdays, contact the following people:

Shared Home Roster Coordinator – 0438 251 801 (

Individual Contract Roster Coordinator – 0437 836 677 (

Clear, detailed voice messages are preferred and appreciated; they avoid unnecessary call backs for roster coordinators. Clear and detailed text messages or emails are also accepted.

However, don’t leave messages or texts regarding rosters out of business hours if a response is required before business hours resume.

Out of hours
In an “out of hours” situation staff are expected to fill the shift from within the team of people who provide support in that shared home or individual contract.  Contact the person on-call who may be able to assist if you are unable to fill the shift.

The on-call person will decide whether to contact the service coordinator or roster coordinator if necessary. The service coordinator may need to be contacted if an individual contract shift is unable to be filled to find out how best to inform the person and/or their family.

If, through unusual circumstances, a shared home shift cannot be filled, the remaining support worker may be directed to maintain a safe environment in the home for the duration of the shift.

The person who was unable to do their shift in either a shared home or individual contract is the person who MUST contact the roster coordinator first thing (8.30am) during business hours, with an explanation for the short notice/urgent shift drop, and information on who replaced them.

Relief pool recruitment
The roster relief pool consists of staff who have applied and been successful in gaining relief positions. Staff with regular roster hours may also place their name on this list.

Work available in the relief pool fluctuates depending on the day-to-day requirements, so keep this in mind when making financial commitments.

Relief pool worker choice
The choice of relief staff from this list takes into account the wishes of the person being supported and the following criteria:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Interests
  • Compatibility with the people being supported
  • Circumstances at the time, such as the health of the person being supported
  • Availability
  • Relevant experience
  • Workplace health and safety considerations

An important consideration will be how well the employee represents the organisation to the client, families and any other people or parties involved in the supported person’s life. NWSS prefers, where possible, that spouses/partners don’t work on shifts together.

NWSS is mindful of the need to share relief work as fairly and equitably as possible but, cannot guarantee regular hours to anybody in this pool.

Staff engaged as relief only may get a greater share of the relief work.  This is necessary to be able to offer enough hours to attract and maintain a pool of people for day to day replacement, fluctuating day cover requirements and staff holidays.

Staff with regular hours in a roster should not take it for granted that they will be offered the hours of somebody who is taking leave from that roster.

Relief shifts will be filled four weeks in advance where possible.

Details regarding parental leave, sick leave, compassionate leave, annual leave, long service leave, leave without pay and COVID-19 related time off can be found in our policy – Leave Entitlements.

Neal Rodwell
General Manager
North West Support Services — 0418 140 000