The State Parliaments in Queensland and South Australia have passed legislation to create a licensing scheme for the supply of labour across all industries. On 13 December 2017, the Victorian Government introduced a Bill into Parliament that would create a similar licensing scheme in Victoria. The range of businesses that will be covered by the legislation is still unclear because the regulations that will clarify the coverage of the schemes are still being developed. Ai Group is working hard to achieve workable coverage definitions to avoid disruption to numerous contracting arrangements and other business-to-business services that are not legitimately ‘labour hire’.
The Queensland Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 commences on 16 April 2018. Labour hire providers will have 60 days from this date to lodge an application for a licence.
The South Australian Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 will commence on 1 March 2018. Businesses that provide labour hire services will have until 1 September 2018 to apply for a licence.
The Victorian licensing scheme will not commence until the Bill that is before Parliament has been passed and the operative date proclaimed.
All three schemes will require businesses that meet the relevant definition of a provider of labour hire services (which differs in each of the three pieces of legislation) to hold a licence. Businesses that use labour hire services will be required to only use a licensed provider.
The legislation includes very harsh penalties for breaches by suppliers of labour and users of labour supplied by other businesses:
- The Queensland legislation includes penalties of up to $365,700 for companies. The maximum penalty for individuals is $126,045 or imprisonment for up to three years;
- The South Australian legislation includes penalties of up to $400,000 for companies. The maximum penalty for individuals is $140,000 or imprisonment for up to three years; and
- The Victorian Bill includes penalties of up to $507,424 for companies. The maximum penalty for individuals is $126,856 or imprisonment for up to two years.
Ai Group has made several detailed submissions to the Queensland, South Australian and Victorian Governments over recent months.
On 6 February 2018, Ai Group filed a detailed submission on the regulations that will clarify the coverage of the Queensland scheme. Ai Group and the Australian Constructors Association also filed a joint submission highlighting various issues of importance to the construction industry.
If you would like more information about the labour hire licensing, please contact Ai Group’s Workplace Advice Service on 1300 55 66 77.
Alternatively, if you would like advice about employment and workplace relations arrangements relating to labour hire please contact your local employment, workplace and industrial lawyer in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne or Brisbane or email Ai Group Workplace Lawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.