Managing Staff Shifts

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


  • Staff require the 'Edit System Preferences' privilege in order to configure the 'Staff Shift Settings' on the Services tab in System Preferences
  • Staff require the 'Team Leader' privilege at the Site/Service level or global 'Team Leader for ALL Services' to create and edit Activities, Roster Staff, mark the Shift as Includes Break or Not Paid, and perform the Activity Sign Off. 

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.

Specific staff members can be added in 'Step 2: Staff' when creating the Activity:

SupportAbility also has functionality for adding the appropriate number of Staff Shifts for an instance of service delivery without rostering specific staff members at this time. This is done using the 'Staff positions to be filled later' functionality which may be useful in cases where the Roster is yet to be determined or not 'published' until later. 

The How to create an Activity article linked below outlines detailed information on creating an Activity.

Additional Staff can also be added/rostered once the Activity has been created, by selecting the '+ Add Staff' button in the Staff section of the Activity:

Once selected, a Shift will populate at the top of the Staff section with Dates and Times corresponding to the Activity Dates and Times:

Select the 'TO BE FILLED' button to roster a staff member. This will open the 'Change Activity Staff' window, where the relevant staff member may be selected.

More information regarding this is outlined below. 

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Many Providers choose to use the 'TO BE FILLED' 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. 

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

Filtering these Reports by 'Staff Members: TO BE FILLED' and the 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 list, then select the 'TO BE FILLED' buttons in the Staff section of the Activity:

This opens the 'Change Activity Staff' window where the relevant staff member may be selected. 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: 

If there is an existing Availability issue or Clash, the corresponding column cell for that staff member will display in red.  

Selecting the down arrow in the 'Availability' column e.g. for Abel, will display the relevant details below the staff member's name, i.e. Standard Availability as configured on the 'Availability tab of their Staff Account, any Availability issues or Clashing Activities, with links to the related Activity records:

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

Once the staff have been added, remember to select 'Save Activity' to save the addition. The Staff Member will now be rostered into this Activity e.g. Abel: 

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Rostered, Recorded and Finalised Shift Data

Once a Shift has been created, three columns of Shift data will populate, Rostered, Recorded and Finalised, each displaying the corresponding Activity Dates and Times. 

With the v8.6 update the single ‘Working From-To Time’ column of the Staff section of an Activity in the Web App was split into three columns: ‘Rostered’, ‘Recorded’, and ‘Finalised’:

  • Rostered - is the scheduled Shift Date/Time and/or Company and Private Kms
    • Only Staff with the privileges required to manage Activities can edit Rostered Shift Dates/Times and Kms.
  • Recorded - is where the Staff Member rostered into the shift can record their actual hours worked and km travelled (where relevant) either: 
    • directly in the Activity in the Web App, or 
    • via Check In/Out and Record Kms in the Mobile App.
    • Only the Staff Member associated with the shift can view and edit their Recorded Hours/Kms. Staff with the privileges required to manage Activities can view Recorded Hours/Kms but cannot update this. 
  • Finalised - (Hours/Kms) is the shift data used in Timesheet Batches and other reports and exports for payroll. 
    • While the Finalised data populates based on how it has been configured (Rostered or Recorded), only Staff with the privileges required to manage Activities can view or edit Finalised data on a shift-by-shift basis. 
    • The Staff Member associated with the shift cannot see the Finalised data until after the Activity Sign Off is completed. 

By default, when first adding Staff to an Activity the 'Rostered', 'Recorded' and 'Finalised' Dates and Times will automatically populate with the Activity Date and Time for each rostered staff member.  

The 'Rostered' Date and Time can be customised as required by the person with privileges to manage Activities. 

The 'Recorded' Date and Time will remain as first populated unless the individual staff member updates their Shift in the Web App or Checks In/Out via the mobile app whereby the existing 'Recorded' Date and Time will be overwritten.

The 'Finalised' Dates, Times and Kilometres will populate with the configured option, either Rostered or Recorded as set for that Service in the 'Staff Shift Settings' column on the Services tab in System Preferences.

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Customising the Shift

By default, the Staff Member's Shift Dates/Times are the same as the Activity Dates/Times. 

For example, if Abel is rostered into a Community Access Activity that runs from 12:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., his Shift in the Rostered, Recorded, and Finalised columns initially display the same times. 

However, if the staff member's actual times vary from this, only that staff member may customise their own Shift times in the 'Recorded' column, using the pencil icon:

This opens the From and To Date and Times fields where these fields may be updated as required: 

The 'Save Activity' button should then be selected to save the update.

Selecting the 'curved arrow' icon will revert the Dates and Times to the Activity Dates and Times:

Only staff with the 'Team Leader' privilege may customise the Shift times in the 'Rostered' column.  They cannot update the Shift Dates and Times in the 'Recorded' column.

The 'Rostered' Shift is customised as above by utilising the corresponding pencil icon. The Shift may also be reverted by using the corresponding curved arrow icon to revert to the Activity Dates and Times. 

Roster View

The Roster will always display the 'Rostered' Shift times and not the Activity times. 

For example, Staff member Emmit is also rostered for this Activity but his 'Rostered' Shift times are 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm. 

We can see below that Emmit's Roster for this Activity is displaying the customised Rostered Shift times:

Activity Icons

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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Deleting a Staff Shift

Should a Staff Shift need to be deleted, simply select the 'Actions' menu at the end of that Shift row and select the 'Delete Shift' option:

Only Staff with the privilege to edit Activities can perform this deletion. 

When Staff without this level of access select the 'Actions' menu the 'Delete Shift' option is greyed out and cannot be utilised:

If selected a notification displays informing them;  Sorry, you can not remove this Staff Shift from the Activity because you do not have the required privileges:

Once a Shift has been Signed Off or exported as a Timesheet it cannot be removed. The 'Delete Shift' button will be greyed out and if selected a notification advising this will display: 

Similarly, a Shift cannot be removed when the Activity Sign Off has been performed:

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Updating Non-NDIS Chargeable Hours for billing when the Rate Card is in use

The 'Non-NDIS Chargeable Hrs' area of the Staff section in an Activity does not relate to the Staff Members Shift, and can be ignored:

These hours relate to functionality for managing Non-NDIS chargeable hours when the Rate Card is in use. 

Selecting the 'Actions' menu and 'Non-NDIS Chargeable Hours' option will open the related window:

The Shift hours display as 'Base Hrs' by default, however, they may be attributed across the various Hrs Usage Types as applicable.

More information about this is available in the  Setting up and using the Rate Card for Non-NDIS Billing article linked below for reference.

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Roster and Record Company and Private Kilometres

If your organisation requires Staff to record their Company and Private kilometres e.g. this functionality can be turned on in the 'Staff Shift Settings' column on the Services tab in System Preferences.

Once configured to 'On' the 'Private' and 'Company' km fields will display for all columns, 'Rostered', 'Recorded' and 'Finalised' in the Web App: 

Private and Company kilometres can be entered by the person with privileges to manage the Activity in the 'Rostered' column for each staff member, for example, to set an expected or maximum allowable number of kilometres.

Rostered staff can enter the number of Private or Company kilometres they used in delivering the Service in the 'Recorded' column.

Recording Kms - Mobile App

When Capture Kms is configured to 'On' staff are also able to enter their Private and Company Kms on the 'Staff' tab of an Activity in the Mobile App:

Warnings and Warning Thresholds

Warnings can also be set to alert staff managing Activities when the Recorded kilometres differ from the Rostered kilometres, either higher than, or deviating up or down. Turning these Warnings on and setting the 'Recorded Kms Warning threshold' is configured in the 'Staff Shift Settings' column on the Services tab in System Preferences.

Once configured a blue inline notification is displayed under the kilometres in the Recorded column:

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 'Recorded' column: 

A total of all 'Rostered' Kilometers, both Private and Company, for all rostered Staff Members, is displayed at the bottom under the Rostered 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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Includes Breaks

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

N.B. This checkbox is greyed out and cannot be updated for Shifts where the Shift Sign Off has been completed.

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. 

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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 and then selecting the relevant Staff Member. Remember to select 'Save Activity' to save the updates.

When adding a Staff Member twice, both of the 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:

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

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

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:

This 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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Staff Shift Sign Off

If your organisation requires staff to Sign Off their Shifts in the Mobile and Web App, this functionality can be configured to 'On' per Service as required. 

Configuration is completed in the 'Staff Shift Settings' column on the Services tab in System Preferences and applies to both the Web and Mobile App. 

When configuring the 'Shift Sign Off' to 'On,' there are two options: record 'Time Only' or record 'Time and Location'.

When either of these 'On' options is configured the 'Shift Sign Off' button will display on the 'Staff' tab of the Activity in the Mobile App, and Activity Staff section in the Web App, in Activities created for that Service.

Staff Shift Sign Off - Web App

Staff can only see their own 'Recorded' data and access their own 'Shift Sign Off' button:

Only Staff with Team Leader privileges can complete the 'Shift Sign-Off' for all rostered staff. These buttons will display in amber when not their own Shift:

Dashboard 'Activity Schedule'

Staff may Sign Off their own Shifts from either within the Activity record itself as above, or from the 'Activity Schedule' on the Dashboard (provided this portal has been configured as 'On' in the Dashboard settings): 

Staff Shift Sign Off - Mobile App

When 'Shift Sign Off' is configured to 'On' staff are also able to sign off their Shifts on the 'Staff' tab of an Activity in the Mobile App:

Removing the Shift Sign Off

Once the Shift Sign Off is performed, Staff with the Team Leader privilege and the rostered staff member may remove it in the Web App, in the case of a mistake for example, up until the Activity Sign Off has been performed, after which time this is no longer possible.

The same applies in the Mobile App where a staff member may remove the Shift Sign Off, up until the Activity Sign Off has been performed, regardless of where the Shift Sign Off was completed, i.e. either in the Mobile or Web App.

If a person with the Team Leader privilege or the rostered staff member attempts to remove the 'Shift Sign Off' in the Web App after the Activity Sign Off has been performed, a notification will display advising this is not possible:

Once the Activity Sign Off has been performed, the 'Shift Sign Off' button will be greyed out in the Web App, meaning this functionality can no longer be edited: 

Similarly, it will be greyed out and uneditable in the Mobile App:


The Shift Sign Off can be configured to record 'Time Only' or 'Time and Location'. This configuration is completed in the 'Staff Shift Settings' column on the Services tab in System Preferences and applies to both the Web and Mobile App.

For a location to be recorded, permission must be granted in the phone or browser settings.

When 'Time and Location' is configured, and the Shift Sign Off is performed, SupportAbility checks the staff member's geolocation to work out where they are performing the Sign Off from. 

Details may be viewed in the Web App by selecting the information icon: 

Once selected, the 'Staff Shift Sign Off Details' window will open displaying who performed the Sign Off, the Date/Time and the Location, along with a map: 

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 Shifts, the web browser requests if geolocation should be Allowed or Blocked. 

If this is not Allowed, then this will result in an Unknown geolocation position. 

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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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Activity Sign Off

Once the service has been delivered, rostered staff have added Journals, Shift data has been recorded by staff i.e. hours and kilometres where relevant, Staff Shift Sign Off and/or Check In/Out has been completed where required, the 'Funding Source' and Support Allocations have been added, and the Team Leader has completed all checks; the Activity Signed Off can be completed by a person with privileges to manage Activities:   

Performing the Activity Sign Off will:
  • save the Activity record and if Replication Management Settings are active, apply any changes made across the set
  • make NDIS Support Allocations and billing assets available for finance processing
  • make Staff Timesheets available for payroll processing based on 'Finalised' data

A Timesheet Batch can then 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 to create an audit trail. 

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