Managing Staff Shifts

This article outlines the various functionality available for managing Staff Shifts. 

Audience: Operations Management, Support Staff, Team Leaders


The following list summarises the content of this article. Click on the links below to take you to the relevant sections:

What is a Staff Shift?

Adding Staff to the Staff section of an Activity record creates a Staff Shift which informs the Roster, and the 'Working from-to Time' creates the individual's Time Sheet: 

By default, when first adding Staff their 'Working From-To Time' will be the same as the Activity Date and Time. This can be customised as required, as outlined below.

An optional Sign-Off facility is available for individual Staff to complete their Timesheet. 

Performing the Activity Sign-Off automatically completes any Staff Timesheets which have not been Signed Off.   Once the Activity has been signed off, a Timesheet Batch can be generated and exported for managing Award Interpretation (where required) and Payroll in your organisation's applicable system/s. 

If your organisation is not using the Staff Roster and/or Time Sheet functionality in SupportAbility, you may still choose to add Staff to an Activity simply to reflect which Staff Members were working with which Clients at a given time. 

IMPORTANT - Non-NDIS Chargeable Hrs

N.B. The 'Non-NDIS Chargeable Hrs' area of the Staff section in an Activity can be disregarded, as the hours displayed here are not related to the Staff Members Shift.

These settings are related to the original functionality to manage Non-NDIS Funding which is  not recommended to be used due to its limitations. 

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SupportAbility has the functionality to set Staff shifts as TO BE FILLED in cases where the Roster needs to be set up but not filled or 'published' yet: 

Many Providers choose to use this functionality to set up their Activities in advance by adding Client schedules and Staff Shift Times but not adding Staff Members to these Shifts until they would like Staff to have these available in their Roster. 

Managing TO BE FILLED Shifts

Staff tasked with managing the Roster may find the Activity Report or Activity Staff Report helpful for identifying Activities that include TO BE FILLED Shifts. 

Filtering these Reports by 'TO BE FILLED' for  Staff Members, and the relevant From and To Activity Dates for the Roster period, along with other required search criteria such as Site or Service:

This will provide a list of all Activities, which include Staff shifts set as TO BE FILLED. 

To 'fill' these Shifts, navigate to the Activity via the Activity link in the results, then select the 'Staff' button for a Shift: 

This will open up a list of Service Staff and Non-Service Staff to select from, highlighting any Availability issues or Clashes to be aware of: 

Regardless of any existing Availability issues or Clashes, Staff may be added to the shift by selecting the 'Add' anchor icon e.g. Abel: 

Remember to select 'Save Activity' to save the addition. The Staff Member will now be rostered into this Activity: 

If there is an existing Availability issue or Clash, this will be noted in red below the Staff Member's name. Selecting the notation will open the Activity Warnings window displaying the relevant details with links to the related records:

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Customising the Working From-To Time of the Staff Members shift

By default, the Staff Member's Shift time is the same as the Activity time. 

For example, if Abel is rostered into a Personal Care Activity that goes from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm, his Shift will automatically align with the time of the Activity. 

However, if Abel's actual Times vary from this, his 'Working From-To Time' may be customised as required by the following people:

  • a Staff Member may customise their own Shift
  • a Staff Member with the Team Leader privilege for the Site/Service the Activity is related to
  • a Staff Member with the 'Team Leader for all Services' privilege

A Shift is customised by first selecting the 'Customise Time' button: 

Then updating the Times as required. For example, Abel's Shift starts at 11:30 am, half an hour earlier than the Activity Time, and goes until 3:30 pm, a half hour later than the Activity Time:

The Roster will always display the Shift Time and not the Activity Time. We can see below that Abel's Roster for this Activity is displaying the customised Shift Time:

Please review the  Activity Icons article linked below for more information regarding any Status icons displayed in the Roster or within the Status column of the Staff section of the Activity. 

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Private Kilometres

When Staff use their own vehicle to assist or attend an Activity and require reimbursement, they can record the relevant number of kilometres in the Private field under the 'Kilometers' column: 

A total of all Kilometers, both Private and Company km, for all rostered Staff Members, is displayed at the bottom of this column.

This information is populated in the detailed and summary Timesheet Batch exports and also some custom exports. 

Please see the Capturing Staff Kilometres - Private or Company article linked below for more information. 

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Staff Time Sheet Sign Off

There is an optional feature available in SupportAbility whereby Staff may complete their Timesheet by way of Sign Off

 The 'Sign Off' button will appear in green when it is the Staff Member's own Timesheet while other Staff Members Sign Off button will display in white:

Only Staff with Team Leader privileges may complete the Timesheet Sign-Off for another Staff member and these will display in Amber if not their own:

Staff may Sign Off their Timesheets from either within the Activity record itself, or from the Activity Schedule - Time Sheets Awaiting Sign Off Dashboard portal (provided this has been configured in the Dashboard settings): 

Once the Sign Off is performed, Staff may momentarily remove the Sign Off in the case of a mistake for example: 

Up until the page is refreshed or another record is accessed. 


When the Staff Time Sheet has had the Sign Off performed, SupportAbility checks the Staff members geolocation to work out where they are performing the Sign Off from. 

Select the map pin icon: 

to display who performed the Sign Off, the Date/Time and the Location: 

Depending on the device the person is using, and the manner in which they are connected to the internet, the accuracy of this geolocation can vary greatly. When a Staff member is using SupportAbility on a tablet that is connected to the internet via 3G, 4G or 5G, the device uses GPS positioning to accurately pinpoint the Staff members location. If the device is connected to Wifi or ethernet, the geolocation is determined by their IP address, and where that IP address has been registered. IP addresses generally are registered at the Suburb level, or City level so you may see results of a specific city e.g. Melbourne. 

Additionally, when Staff Sign Off their Timesheets, the web browser requests if geolocation should be Allowed or Blocked e.g: 

Screen-Shot-2019-05-07-at-5-19-38-pm.pngIf this is not Allowed i.e. Block is selected, or Allow is not selected, then this will result in an Unknown geolocation position. 

Activity Sign Off

It is important to note that when the Activity Sign Off is performed, this will also Sign Off all Staff Time Sheets. Please, therefore, clarify with your manager if you are required to complete the Timesheet Sign Off given it is an optional feature.  

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Includes Breaks

The ' Includes Break' setting is available for selection in each Staff row of the Activity: 

When selected, this only indicates this Shift included a break. Regrettably, SupportAbility does not yet allow Staff the option to input the duration of this break, nor will it adjust the Shift Time in any manner. 

The 'Includes Break' setting is included in the Detailed Timesheet Batch export. 

How can unpaid Breaks be managed?

The only way to manage unpaid Breaks in SupportAbility currently is to either split the Shift or reduce the total Shift duration. 

We recognise the limitations of this and expanding the 'Breaks' functionality is definitely on our radar for future development; however, is yet to be scheduled into our upcoming  SupportAbility Roadmap.

Splitting a Shift to manage a Break

Splitting a Shift in an Activity is currently our recommended method for managing unpaid Breaks. While both Shifts will appear in the Roster, their Times will be accurate. 

Splitting Shifts is achieved by adding the Staff member twice to the Activity, by selecting the + Add Staff button then selecting the relevant Staff Member:

When adding a Staff Member twice, both Shifts will initially display an Availability issue due to the duplication and both Shifts having the same From and To times, as determined by the Activity From and To Times:

Once these Shifts have been customised and the Activity saved, assuming the Times for each Shift don't overlap, the Availability issue will disappear.

To customise the 'Working From-To Time' so each Shift clearly reflects the Shift Times on either side of the break, select the 'Customise Time' button and update as required: 

Remember to select Save Activity to save the updates.

N.B. If Staff are required to Sign Off their Shifts, Staff with split Shifts will need to remember to sign off both Shifts.

Reducing the Shift duration to reflect a Break

If the total Shift duration is adjusted to reflect a Break, the adjusted Times will display for this Shift in the Staff Roster. This may be confusing for Staff and potentially cause issues with Staff not completing their full Shift.  Therefore this method is not recommended. 

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Not Paid

The ' Not Paid' setting available for selection in each Staff row of an Activity:

refers to the entire shift and cannot be applied to part of a Shift e.g. Break only.

When this setting has been selected, it only indicates this Shift was not paid, both in the Activity and the Detailed Timesheet Batch export. 

This setting may be useful for a couple of purposes as follows:

  • if a Shift has been completed by a volunteer or a Staff Member who needed to make up hours, unpaid, for example. 
  • to indicate that payroll does not need to pay this Staff Member for this Shift. 

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Activity Tags

Adding Tags to Activities is optional, and while they apply to the Activity holistically Providers may find them helpful for identifying Activities that contain individual Shifts with specific attributes e.g. Split Shifts, On-Call, Weekend, Overtime, Paid Meal Break, Staff Training etc.

Activity Tags are configured in System Preferences on the Tags tab:

These Tags can then be added to the relevant Activities:

Once the Activity Sign Off has been performed, and the Activity has been included in a Time Sheet Batch, the 'Detailed Time Sheet Batch' export can be downloaded and reviewed, using the information in the 'Activity Tags' column to identify Activities that contain Shifts with specific attributes e.g. 'Split Shifts':

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Deleting a Staff Shift

Should a Staff Shift need to be deleted, simply select the rubbish bin icon at the end of that Shift row:

Only Staff with the privilege to edit Activities can perform this deletion. When Staff without this level of access select the rubbish icon the 'Remove Staff Shift from Activity' window opens, displaying a message as follows:

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