Risk management and compliance requirements

As an employer, it is important for you to understand the changes to disability worker screening in Queensland, your obligations and the impact this will have on your organisation and employees.

Risk management and compliance requirements

NDIS Registered Employers

NDIS registered employers are responsible for identifying which of their workers are required to hold a valid NDIS Worker Screening Clearance.

Existing workers or new workers who already have a valid yellow card or yellow card exemption won’t need to get a clearance straight away. The existing card can be used until it expires or is cancelled.

It is important for you to register with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s NDIS Worker Screening Database (NWSD) so that you can verify your workers’ applications and track their eligibility to work.

There are no exemptions from NDIS worker screening, other than for school students in certain limited circumstances.

If your workers applied for or already hold a Yellow Card that was issued before 1 Feb 2021 you will need to be aware of changes to employer and worker obligations as well as changes to how you and your workers can manage their clearance. It is an offence for an NDIS funded provider to engage or continue to engage a worker to deliver NDIS services or supports unless they hold a clearance. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

State Funded Employers

State funded disability support service providers are responsible for identifying which of their employees require a Queensland Disability Worker Screening Clearance.

Existing workers or new workers who already have a valid yellow card or yellow card exemption won’t be required to get a Queensland Disability Worker Screening Clearance straight away. Their existing card can be used until it expires or is cancelled.

It is important for you to register with the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships’ Queensland Employer Portal. 

Workers providing state-funded disability services and supports are exempt from holding a Queensland disability worker screening clearance if they already hold a valid NDIS worker screening clearance or for school students in certain limited circumstances.

It is an offence for a state funded provider to engage or continue to engage a worker to carry out state funded disability work unless they hold a clearance. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Interim Bars and Exclusions

An ‘Interim Bar’ may be imposed on worker screening applications if assessable information is received that is of concern. This will prohibit them from working while their application is in progress. NDIS registered employers will be notified of any interim bars or exclusions through the NWSD, while state-funded disability services providers will be notified directly by the Worker Screening Unit.

It is an offence for an employer to have a worker who is issued with an interim bar or exclusion carry out NDIS work or state funded disability supports or services. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Record keeping requirements

Under the new disability worker screening system, employers are required to review their record keeping requirements.

View the record keeping requirements for registered NDIS providers.

Yellow Card Holders

Please note existing yellow card and yellow card exemptions will remain valid until their expiry date. For specific information relating to the transition to the new system for yellow card holders, yellow card exemption holders or negative notice holders and their employers please see Transitional arrangements for NDIS employers fact sheet (PDF, 230 KB).

Your Obligations:

The commencement of new Disability Worker Screening Laws means clearance card applicants, workers and employers all have new obligations which must be met to avoid facing penalty. The below tables highlight these obligations and subsequent penalties under the Disability Services Act 2006 and are to be read in conjunction with the fact sheets on our website. Please refer to the fact sheets if you are unsure of any terms or require further information.

Offence

Penalty

(please note - penalty units are subject to change. Dollar amounts listed are an estimate only current at February 2020)

Employers

 

Disability workers must have a valid clearance

A registered NDIS provider must not engage a person to carry out risk-assessed NDIS work without a valid NDIS clearance.

A funded service provider must not engage a person to carry out State disability work without an NDIS or a State clearance.

Up to 200 penalty units ($26, 690) or 2 years’ imprisonment.

Invalid clearance holders prohibited

An NDIS or State service provider must not engage a person to carry out disability work who holds an interim bar, a suspended clearance or an exclusion from the Queensland Worker Screening Unit (WSU) or from an interstate WSU.

Up to 200 penalty units ($26, 690) or 2 years’ imprisonment.

Annual Risk Management Strategy

Each year, a state-funded service provider that engages 1 or more persons to carry out State disability work must develop and implement a written “risk management strategy” that follows the requirements set out in section 58 of the Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld).

Up to 20 penalty units ($2669).

Secondary School Students

A registered NDIS provider must ensure any work experience students do not carry out NDIS disability work, in a risk assessed role, unless under the direct supervision of an NDIS clearance holder.

A funded service provider must ensure any work experience students do not carry out State disability work unless under the direct supervision of an NDIS clearance holder (issued in QLD) or State clearance holder.

Up to 200 penalty units ($26, 690) or 2 years’ imprisonment.

Workers (including applicants and clearance holders)

Making an application prohibited

A person who holds an exclusion from the Queensland Worker Screening Unit (WSU) or from an interstate WSU cannot make an application.

Up to 500 penalty units ($66, 725) or 5 years imprisonment.

False or Misleading Information

A person must not give information or a document that they know is false or misleading to the WSU or an NDIS or funded service provider that engages or proposes to engage them.

Up to 100 penalty units ($13, 345) or 2 years’ imprisonment.

Must have valid clearance

A person must not start or continue to carry out disability work for a registered NDIS provider or funded service provider, or as an NDIS or State sole trader without a valid disability worker clearance.

Up to 500 penalty units ($66, 725) or 5 years’ imprisonment.

Exclusion holder prohibited from working

If a person is issued an exclusion from the Queensland WSU or an interstate WSU they must not start or continue to carry out disability work for a State funded service provider, a registered (or unregistered) NDIS provider, as an NDIS sole trader or as a State sole trader.

Up to 500 penalty units ($66, 725) or 5 years’ imprisonment.

Interim bars and suspended clearances

A person who holds an interim bar or suspended clearance must not start or continue disability work for an NDIS service provider, funded service provider or the department.

Up to 500 penalty units ($66, 725) or 5 years’ imprisonment.

Return suspended or cancelled card

A suspended or cancelled card must be returned to the WSU immediately.

Without reasonable excuse - up to 100 penalty units ($13, 345).

Change of name, or contact details

If there is a change in an applicant or clearance holder’s name or address or other contact details they must notify the WSU within 7 and 14 days respectively by filling out the relevant form.

Up to 10 penalty units ($1334.50)

Change in work status

If a worker is issued a clearance on the basis that they are a volunteer or unpaid, and during the term of that clearance their work status changes - they must fill out the relevant form and notify the WSU within 14 days of the change and pay any applicable fees.

Up to 10 penalty units ($1334.50).

Change in police or other information

If a clearance holder or applicant becomes aware of a change in their criminal or other disciplinary or assessable information, they must notify the WSU immediately by filling out the relevant form.

Up to 100 penalty units ($13, 345).

Lost or Stolen Card

If a clearance holder’s card is lost or stolen they must apply for a replacement or to cancel their clearance within 14 days by filling out the relevant form.

Up to 10 penalty units ($1334.50).

Return replaced Card

If a replacement card is issued other than because the holder’s original card expired or was lost or stolen, the original card must be returned to the WSU within 14 days. If a holder regains possession of a lost or stolen card after replacement, the original card must be returned to the WSU within 7 days.

Without reasonable excuse – up to 10 penalty units ($1334.50).