As working practices evolve, there is a growing focus on the protection of workers from exploitation. In recent years, the Australian governments have become particularly attentive to the labour hire sector. With stories of inadequate health and safety standards, worker rights issues, and unethical company behaviours, a change was soon to come.

Thus came the Labour Hire Licensing Act in 2017. There have been numerous revisions, but the most current version states the purpose “to establish a licensing system to regulate the provision of labour hire services” and “to impose civil penalties upon providers and users of labour hire services who obtain those services from anyone other than licensed providers.”

How does Labour Hire Licensing affect Businesses?

Businesses that provide labour hire services must now obtain a licence if they preside in Queensland, Victoria or South Australia. However, businesses that make use of labour hire services also have the legal responsibility to ensure the validity of the license. If not, they can be subjected to fines of over $500,000.

The definition of labour hire providers is any business that has an arrangement with an individual who is supplied as a worker to one or more other persons. Alternatively, a business that recruits an individual for, or places the individual with, one or more other persons to perform work.

How are Labour Hire Licenses Granted?

In order to control the licensing, the Labour Hire License Authority was founded. The Victorian Labour Hire Authority states they are “responsible for licensing labour hire providers and undertaking education, enforcement and compliance activity.”

Labour hire providers must apply to their respective organization, which involves a little paperwork. If a business can show historical compliance with legal obligations – superannuation, taxation, occupational health & safety, etc. – a license will be granted.

How are Labour Hire Licenses Enforced?

The Authority appoints inspectors, which are directed employed or otherwise contracted, whose job is to ensure the further compliance of a business. Licenses can be revoked at any time if legal obligations are not met.

Businesses will be required to keep relevant documents to hand on site. Inspectors can use the necessary legal procedures to require licenses holders to provide information or further documentation.

The Importance of Labour Hire Licensing

The Labour Hire Licensing Act has been put in place to ensure that upholding of work rights and workplace safety. These regulations are part of the larger aim to end wage theft, worker exploitation and phoenix companies.

The Authorities urge the relevant businesses to know their obligations in order to avoid penalties and/or prosecution. If you are in need of labour hire services, be sure to choose a reputable provider, such as UVS Group. If you are unsure about these new regulations, feel free to get in touch for further clarification.