Information for household employers on upcoming changes to state employment laws

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Employee / workerEmployer

This page is for people in Western Australia (WA) who employ someone to provide domestic services in a private home (someone’s house or private residence). On this page, people who do this are called household employers.

This information is only for household employers who employ someone directly. Directly means that a person (or more than one person) employs the worker. This information is not relevant to businesses or organisations that employ workers to work in people’s homes.

On 16 December 2021, the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 was passed by State Parliament.

The changes to state employment laws introduced by the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Act 2021 will commence in early 2022.

Key amendments to the Industrial Relations Act (IR Act) include updating the definition of ‘employee’ in the IR Act and the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act (MCE Act), to remove the existing exclusion for persons engaged in domestic service in a private home (including carers employed directly by the householder). This will extend coverage of the IR Act and the MCE Act to such workers.

Domestic services means things such as:

  • support and care for a person with a disability
  • support and care for an elderly person
  • cleaning
  • child care

When the changes to state employment laws commence in early 2022, household employers will have a range of new employment obligations

The specific obligations of household employers will vary depending on the type of work the employee is doing. Information for specific types of work is provided below. When the new laws commence, all employees of household employers will be:

Household employers will have new employment record keeping and pay slip obligations.

In addition, household employers will need to comply with their existing obligations, which will not be affected by the upcoming changes:

Stay informed

The best way to keep informed of when the changes to state employment laws commence is to subscribe to the Wageline News email newsletter or follow Wageline on social media.

Employee or contractor?

Some workers may be contractors rather than employees. A contractor is a worker running their own business, and is not an employee. If a person is a contractor then employment laws do not apply to that person and the information on this page is not relevant.

Visit the Employee or Contractor page for more information about the differences between an employment arrangement and a contracting arrangement.

Support workers, including disability and aged care support workers

At present there is no WA award for support workers employed by household employers in the home. Support workers who work for household employers are ‘award free’. ‘Award free’ means there is no WA award that applies.

Support workers employed by household employers must be paid at least the state minimum wage. The minimum pay rate will depend on the employee’s age and whether they are a full time or part time employee or a casual employee. The minimum pay rates for casual employees include a 20% loading.

Wageline’s publication Employment entitlements for support workers when changes to state employment laws commence - A guide for household employers outlines the employment obligations that will be in place once the new laws commence.

Cleaners

Once the changes to state employment laws commence in early 2022, domestic employees who mainly perform cleaning duties for household employers are likely to be covered by the WA Cleaners and Caretakers Award.

Many occupations and industries in the state industrial relations system are covered by a WA award. WA awards are legal documents which set minimum pay rates and conditions for employees in certain industries or jobs.

The Cleaners and Caretakers Award sets pay rates, working hours and other arrangements for domestic employees working as cleaners, including window cleaners.

Visit Wageline’s WA award summaries page for a summary of pay rates and employment conditions in the Cleaners and Caretakers Award.

Child care

Once the changes to state employment laws commence in early 2022, child care workers who are employed by household employers are likely to be ‘award free’. ‘Award free’ means there is no WA award that applies.

Child care workers employed by household employers must be paid at least the state minimum wage. The minimum pay rate will depend on the employee’s age and whether they are a full time or part time employee or a casual employee. The minimum pay rates for casual employees include a 20% loading.

Wageline’s Award free employees minimum pay rates and entitlements summary is a summary of the current minimum pay rates and entitlements applicable to award free employees.

 

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