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AUGUST, 2017

Basic Requirements of Employing Support Workers

by | Direct Employ Workers, Self/Plan Manage Funds

Directly employing your own support workers is one of the most empowering things you can do. It seems a little scary at first, but with some basic knowledge and some professional assistance, it is not that difficult.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: We are not accountants, lawyers or any other type of professional. Any information on this page is detailing our experience of directly employing workers in Victoria and may not apply to your situation. Always check with appropriate professionals such as Accountants/Bookkeepers and the relevant authorities such as Fair Work Australia and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Real “choice and control” comes from self or plan managing NDIS funds and directly employing support workers

Directly employing your own staff means you get to pay the support workers what they are worth – usually more than they would be paid by a service provider. It also means that, because your overheads are a lot lower, you get more support hours out of the same funding.

It does take some time to set up – but once done, it is easy to add more workers. The first one is the hardest and takes the longest but you can do it!

“I can pay support workers more but still save money and get more hours!”

When employing support workers, you need to ensure that both you, and they, are covered. Insurance is a must and is not as expensive as you may think.

For example, for a total payroll amount of $60,000, a WorkCover premium was going to be about $860 for the year – and even better, this is payable quarterly. In Victoria, the authority is WorkSafe – and we got the coverage through CGU. It was a very easy process – just go to the WorkSafe website.

Public and product liability insurance is mandatory through the Victorian DHS if you want to directly employ workers. This year the premium was $363.00 – and we got cover provided through an organisation called VMIA specifically for people directly employing support workers using an ISP (Individual Support Package).

There are other insurance companies insuring support workers employed using NDIS funding. At the moment, VMIA have said they will continue to provide insurance until the NDIS is fully rolled out in Victoria. Sign up to get our newsletter (at the bottom of this page) for updates on this insurance situation and to get more tips.

I hate to tell you, but obviously, you are going to have to deal with the Australian Tax Office (ATO)!

It’s not that tricky, I set the payroll up myself on MYOB. If you are not that confident, I would suggest consulting an accountant or bookkeeper and ask them to set up either a Quickbooks, Xero or MYOB file for you. It will probably be a one off cost of a few hundred dollars (payable from the funding of course) and then you will use it for your payroll. It will then be relatively easy to add new workers to the system.

You can purchase software like Quickbooks, Xero or MYOB on a monthly basis – at the moment, the version of MYOB we use is $70 per month. There new player is called Xero – but their pricing changes depending on how many workers you have. MYOB and Quickbooks is unlimited.

It takes me literally 60 minutes to do the fortnightly payroll for seven workers – something an organisation was going to charge me nearly $900 a week to do! Each quarter, the tax withheld gets sent to the ATO – and it takes me a few minutes to generate the numbers from MYOB, a few minutes to write them into the form – a stamp and time to post it. The tax withheld is paid via internet banking. So in total, an hour would completely cover it.

Coming soon ….

We will be doing a series of YouTube videos shortly which shows how I use MYOB to enter a timesheet, pay a worker, email a payslip etc.

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In summary, directly employing support workers does involve some time and effort. But .. you really do get “choice and control” – it’s not just a three word slogan and it is empowering.

If you really feel your computer skills aren’t up to it and depending on the number of support workers and hours, my suggestion is to look at hiring a local bookkeeper to do the payroll on your behalf.  A professional bookkeeper could probably do it in a very short time  – so even at $80 an hour, it’s still going to be reasonable and much cheaper than some of the ridiculous prices I have seen some labour hire organisations charge!