Questions and answers on the implemention of guaranteed hours

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Implementation

Are guaranteed hours calculated on calendar days or pay period?

This will vary from provider to provider and will be different for each employee case. Providers will be expected to take the most pragmatic approach and comply with the Employment Standards Legislation and the second variation of the In-between Travel Settlement Agreement.

How long is the period of the initial implementation?

The initial implementation stage has commenced and the Ministry’s commitment remains to supporting providers to implement guaranteed hours by 1 April 2017.

Has minimum wage increase been factored in?

The minimum wage increase from 1 April 2017 has been factored into travel time by the Ministry.

How will new workers be treated?

This will be subject to the individual providers’ approach. The principle of the Agreement is that all workers will be offered guaranteed hours.

How is subcontracting to be treated?

In the case of subcontracting arrangements, the main contractor will determine the approach to be applied.

What about the non-unionised workforce?

HCSS implementation of guaranteed hours affects all support workers, regardless of whether they are union members.

Will funders be collecting data?

Yes, funders and the Ministry will collect data to understand how the policy and funding arrangements work in practice after guaranteed hours is implemented on 1 April. It is anticipated this information will be available week of 5 May 2017.

Funding categories

What are the funding categories?

Funding categories that can be claimed through the existing IBT portal based on actual claims

  • Non-replaced unavoidable cancelled visits, including travel time.
  • Ongoing reduction in agreed guaranteed hours (3 weeks).

Additional payments by the Ministry

  • ‘Top up’ funding for Unfilled Guaranteed Hours. Funding of $8.3 million is available up to 30 June 2018 for costs relating to this. Funding will be allocated proportional to providers’ IBT Part A claims from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016.
  • One-off funding towards providers’ implementation costs from a pool of $1 million. Funding will be allocated proportional to providers’ IBT Part A claims from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016.
  • $75 per qualifying employee for the purposes of costs associated with the employee workshops.
  • A contribution to pilot implementation costs for providers in Auckland and Taranaki.

In recognition that costs to implement guaranteed hours will be funded on a combination of actuals and estimates, the arrangements will be reviewed in October 2017. The Ministry has developed the Terms of Reference for this review.

Providers can submit claims under the no disadvantage clause based on evidence of actual and reasonable increases in costs.

Cancelled visits

What cancelled visits are funded?

The Ministry will fund all unavoidable cancelled visits with a notice period of less than 48 hours where neither the provider nor the support worker has control over the cancellation(s); visits cancelled with more than 48 hours’ notice will not be funded. Examples of unavoidable cancellations are:

  • client choice (though it is expected that the provider will work with clients to reduce the number of cancellations)
  • client unavailable.

Can you provide an examples of cancellations that won’t be funded?

The below are examples of cancellations that will not be funded:

  • cancellations requested by the support worker, eg, support worker being on leave (planned and sick)
  • an error was made by the provider’s coordinator, ie, the client’s service authorisation ceased and the NASC notified the provider.

What is the cancelled appointment funding rate?

$19.61. The rate of $19.61 is based on an average hourly wage rate adjusted for the 1 April 2017 minimum wage increase and on-costs of 20.9%.  

Can the Ministry guarantee that all reasons for cancellations have been factored in?

The Guaranteed Hours Funding Framework outlines the details of the Ministry’s policy position, including the criteria for payments of cancelled visits and ongoing reduction in hours.

Reductions in guaranteed hours

What are ongoing reductions in agreed guaranteed hours?

3 weeks funding to support providers to consult with staff and give notice for ongoing reduction in hours. Paid on actuals, claimed through the IBT system.

 ‘Top up’ funding

What is the ‘top up’ funding for Unfilled Guaranteed Hours?

The purpose is to support providers as they transition the workforce to guaranteed hours. It is recognised that providers may have costs relating to paying workers for guaranteed hours and not being able to bill funders where care workers haven’t been assigned a client and it is agreed between the provider and the worker that this is temporary and not to alter the guaranteed hours.

What is an example of ‘top up’ scenario?

An example of this is where a client has moved to another town and the provider has not been able to fill that time with replacement work on an ongoing basis but the provider and the support worker do not want to reduce the guaranteed hours as it is anticipated that this is a temporary shortfall in hours that will be addressed as demand picks up.

How much funding is available for ‘top ups’?

$8.3 million p.a. is available for this purpose. A fixed quarterly payment will be made to providers, reducing over the 5 quarters. A proportion of the $8.3 million will be held by the Ministry (in case of evidence-based ‘no disadvantage’ claims). Payments will be made proportional to providers’ IBT Part A claims from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016.  

Employee attendance at workshops

How can providers claim for employee attendance at workshops?

All providers will be eligible to claim the amount of $75 per qualifying employee attending a chosen workshop session. This will be distributed as a one-off payment regardless of how many sessions a worker attends.

More information on this process is provided in Issue 3 of our newsletter.

Excluded workers

Are Ministry-funded Family Carers included?

No. The policy excludes Ministry-funded Family Funded Carers as these carers are covered by the Family Funded Care programme, and are paid at the minimum wage as per the relevant Act. DHB-funded Family Carers, however, are included.

Are employees funded through individualised funding included?

No. Staff funded through individualised funding are excluded.

Policy development

Was there a client representative on the group?

No, but a client view was taken into account during discussions with Settlement parties.

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