If this is your first holiday season as a self-manager, then it may be a bit of a shock when suddenly several of your disability care staff are putting in leave requests.
You may feel like your routine is thrown out or you may be worried that you won’t have enough staff to help. This can cause a lot of stress. But just like a business manager, sometimes you have to think like a businessperson when self-managing your NDIS funding. We all need help at times, which is why we’ve put together these tips for what to do if your staff want a holiday.
Work out what is best for everyone
The first thing to do is to work out what is best for everyone. This may involve reassessing the minimum number of staff you need for day-to-day operations. During the holiday season, you probably don’t need to see the staff you only see once a week or on an irregular basis. And for the staff you need on a daily basis, could you look into replacing them with a family member for a day or two?
Once you’ve worked out what your needs are, discuss with your staff what their needs are. This can either be done in one-on-one meetings or a group meeting if you have a small team. Are there staff that need to see out-of-town family for Christmas? Or are there staff that need a break, but are willing to take that break in a few months instead? It’s important to have these meetings so that you and your team can make a plan. This will also help you overcome any stress you are experiencing.
Keep a first come, first served policy
Many businesses have a first come, first served policy when it comes to leave requests, and you can do the same as an NDIS self-manager. The first step is to check what your staff’s leave entitlements are, which can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website. Make sure you give your staff plenty of notice that you are taking leave requests. For some, this could be as early as August. Then it is a case of whoever asks for leave first, gets their leave approved first. Obviously, it is important to be open to changing circumstances, like ill family members. But keeping a policy like this one of the best ways to ensure you don’t get any shock from leave requests and that staff have plenty of time to discuss their leave options with you.
Offer a holiday pay differential
If you require regular staff and it’s not possible to have staff away for several weeks, then it may be worthwhile to offer premium pay between certain dates. When you self-manage your NDIS plan, you are able to negotiate pay and have more flexibility in how much you pay your staff. A holiday pay differential will incentivise some of your staff to keep working over the holiday period, especially those direct staff you may require for day-to-day needs. If you are unsure about how to organise a holiday pay differential, one of Bespoke Lifestyle’s experienced consultants will be able to discuss this with you.
Take your own holiday!
If the majority of your staff are planning to take a holiday, then maybe it’s time for you to plan a holiday too! While it may be daunting to go travelling, there are countless resources that can help you plan and organise a holiday. From NDIS registered travel companies offering NYE party trips to helpful first-hand accounts of travelling with a disability, there are plenty of ways to work out how to take your own holiday. However, this may not be suitable for everyone, as you may need someone who is trained to meet your specific requirements to be with you. In that case, it may be possible to hire your own workers who can travel with you and support you on a holiday. This way, you are travelling while still having your trusted support staff with you!
And if you are looking for a bit of inspiration, check out the story of Matt, one of Bespoke Lifestyle’s participants, who went on an amazing trip to California a few years ago!