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7.1.1 What are household services?
Household services, as defined in Section 213 of the MRCA and Section 4 of the SRCA, as '...services of a domestic nature (including cooking, house cleaning, laundry and gardening services) that are required for the proper running and maintenance of the client's household.'
Household services are of a domestic nature and may include:
- meal preparation;
- cooking and dish washing;
- assistance with grocery shopping where the person’s conditions are such that they cannot undertake this task without assistance;
- child care (under specific circumstances - refer to section 7.2.7 and section 6.5.2 of this Guide for further information about child care support);
- making beds and general tidying;
- laundry and ironing;
- lawn mowing and gardening;
- cleaning of gutters (under specific circumstances - refer to section 7.2.5 of this Guide);
- cleaning of solar panels that were in place prior to the person's service related injury or disease (under specific circumstances - refer to section 7.2.5 of this Guide);
- wood chopping and stacking;
- dusting and vacuuming; and
- window cleaning.
When determining which services might come under the description of being 'required for the proper running and maintenance of the person's household', a client's individual circumstances need to be considered. In determining the reasonable requirement for provision of household services, in all cases, the delegate must consider the criteria in section 215 of the MRCA and subsection 29(2) of the SRCA. Please refer to section 7.2 of this Guide for further information.
Reasonable level of service
The following examples are provided as a guide to what might be considered a reasonable level of service for specific household services:
- grocery shopping – 1 hour per week. If a person chooses to have their groceries delivered, then they are responsible for paying any delivery fees;
- lawn mowing – generally 1 hour per service for a normal sized suburban block with a suggested frequency of:
- fortnightly from September to February during Spring and Summer; and
- every three weeks from March to August during Autumn and Winter;
- cleaning gutters (under specific circumstances - see section 7.2.5 of this Guide) – up to 1 hour per service twice a year;
- cleaning solar panels (under specific circumstances - see section 7.2.5 of this Guide) that were in place prior to the client's service related injury or illness - up to 1 hour per service twice a year;
- cleaning windows – up to twice a year; and
- wood chopping and stacking* where the wood has been delivered to the client’s property - up to 4 hours per year if a wood splitting machine is used; or up to 8 hours per year if the wood is split manually. This may either be provided as one 8 hour service, or broken into two 4 hour services.
*Note: Wood collection around a person’s property or pick-up of firewood from another location cannot be provided. The client is responsible for arranging delivery of the wood to their home.
When considering a reasonable level of service, each case must be considered on its own merits, with reference to each client’s individual circumstances. This means that for those cases where more frequent services are reasonably required, then a more frequent level of service can be approved.
The following examples are provided to illustrate where a more frequent level of service may be considered reasonable:
- in tropical areas where it is consistently warm during winter and grass grows quickly, lawn mowing services fortnightly can be considered;
- if a client is dependent on a wheelchair for mobility and can only access the grassed area of their yard safely if the lawn is very short, a more frequent lawn mowing service may be required;
- where a client lives in a rural location with a very large front and back yard, one hour of lawn mowing may not be sufficient to ensure that the grass remains well kept;
- if a client lives next to the ocean and their home has increased salt spray on their windows as a result, more frequent services than twice per year can be considered.
Cleaning associated with moving house
Cleaning prior to moving house can also be provided through the household services provisions. As with all other requests for household services, the delegate must be satisfied that a “move clean” is reasonably required, using the criteria outlined in section 7.2 of this chapter, and that the total amount of household services to be provided does not exceed the weekly statutory limit.
Even though cleaning before moving house can be approved, it should be noted that the removal itself is not an eligible household service as the removal is not reasonably required for the proper running and maintenance of the client's household.