NDIS was introduced in 2016 and presented with significant opportunities and challenges for the providers. In this article we will discuss at least 5 challenges that NDIS providers face. These challenges are drawn from the recent developments and data in the disability service sector.
The first challenge is to be highly competitive, responsive and flexible for the workforce. This leads to highly increased demand for flexibility in working arrangements and therefore casual employment has been increased and among allied health professionals there is an increase in fixed term employment as compared to permanent employment. The turnover rates for causal workforce are much higher than the permanent workers and are less predictable. Casual employment has led to fragmented working hours and financial insecurity has been increased. Several causal workers have to go through unpaid training not funded by NDIS pricing. In this case workers opt for multiple jobs and are at a risk of fatigue.
If consumers demand disability service in residential setting then services are being delivered under zero supervision at client’s home. This leads to safety challenges as workforce owes to provide a safe working environment and for the workers as well. The environment that workers are attending must be safe. To cope up with this challenge they need an appropriate service design, a strong policy and training program to ensure compliance as well. They also need to address safety risks and occupational health before work and insurance policy must cover all workers in every situation.
Injuries at Workplace
Health and social services are not safe in terms of injuries and they rank second in terms of total number of work cover claims. NDIS work nature is unsupervised and when combined with work conditions and work intensity. If the rate of workforce injuries increases this leads to the increase in additional compensation claims, legal disputes and insurance premiums. This requires a compliant safety framework and occupational health that will mitigate these risks in the long run. Providers must also seek advice when a worker is injured to respond claims.
Demands for irregular services or at unusual hours and at different locations can create a risk factor. The providers need to deal with such changes from the perspective of employment laws and therefore it is important to avoid underpayment of their employees. The providers need to figure out if the employees are working on unusual time or entitled to additional remuneration under the enterprise agreement. The providers must also set a minimum engagement period for a shift of workers.
NDIS service providers must adapt to change in the funding environment and the new world of consumer directed care in order to survive the competition. Not all NDIS providers can fully service clients in the NDIS space and therefore they will need to consider merging with another entity. Merging can create friction in workplace when one agreement contains generous employment entitles and other sides do not ensure flexible entitlements regarding employees.