Changing Rules - Labour Hire Licences across Australia

The world of employment is complex enough when considering employees within an organisation but, as most recruiters know all too well, when it comes to supplying on-hired/temp/contractors/labour-hire to clients that level of complexity only increases. Legislation across States can mean that a system/process that works well in one State is not able to handle differences in other States and so there is an increase in compliance cost (additional work and loss of efficiency).

Things are soon to be even more complex as some States are introducing Labour Hire Licensing and these licences will be required for agencies both based in the State or operating (ie employing people) in that State. A summary of each state is below;

Labour Hire Licensing Changes by State - 2017/18
ACT Under review - ACT Government Enquiry
NSW No changes at present but opposition says that they will implement changes if elected
NT No changes planned currently
QLD Coming in 2018 - Labour Licensing Qld FAQ
SA Coming in 2018 - Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017
TAS No changes planned currently
VIC Coming in 2018 - "Tough New Laws"
WA No changes planned currently

Are you a Labour Hire Provider?

You may be thinking that these new licence requirements only apply to companies supplying farm labour but realistically they will apply to all types of on-hired working arrangements - whether they are the provision of fruit pickers or the supply on an C Level interim contractor. For example the SA legislation says;

6—Meaning of labour hire services 35 (1) A person provides labour hire services if, in the course of carrying on a business, the person supplies, to another person, a worker to do work. (2) Without limiting subsection (1), a person provides labour hire services regardless of— (a) whether or not the worker is an employee of the person; and (b) whether or not a contract is entered into between the worker and the person, or between the person and the person to whom the worker is supplied; and 5 (c) whether the worker is supplied by the person to another person directly or indirectly through 1 or more agents or intermediaries; and (d) whether the work done by the worker is under the control of the person, the person to whom the worker is supplied or another person.

Applying for a Licence

Noting that in practice there will be different requirements in each state and the application process has yet to commence, as part of an application you will need to;

  • identify yourself (e.g. your name, address and ABN)
  • identify at least one person (who can be you) as a nominated officer who is responsible for the day to day operations of the labour hire business
  • show that the nominated officer or officers are fit and proper people to provide labour hire services
  • show that you can comply with the relevant laws
  • show that the labour hire business is financially viable
  • pay an application fee

New Reporting Requirements

Noting, again, that in practice there will be different requirements in each state there will be a requirement to submit a report every 6 months (QLD) or 12 months (SA) and this will include the following information;

  • the number of workers supplied during the period
  • a description of the employment arrangements entered into between yourself and the workers
  • where your workers worked
  • the type of work your workers did
  • details of any accommodation you provided
  • information about your compliance with relevant laws, and any disciplinary or enforcement action taken
  • details of any health and safety incidents your workers were involved in
  • applications for workers’ compensation that your workers made

Potential Penalties

Again, these will differ from state to state and apply to both the Labour Hire Provider and the Host Employer. For example in the SA legislation it has the following provisions;

Potential Penalties - SA

Providing Labour Hire without a Licence in the case of a natural person—$140 000 or imprisonment for 5 years;
in the case of a body corporate—$400 000.
Advertising Labour Hire Services without a licence A person must not advertise, or in any way hold out, that the person provides, is
entitled to provide or is willing to provide labour hire services unless authorised to
provide labour hire services by a licence under this Act.
Maximum penalty: $30 000
Using Labour Hire Services from an unlicensed provider in the case of a natural person—$140 000 or imprisonment for 5 years;
in the case of a body corporate—$400 000

How can RecruitOnline Help?

RecruitOnline was initially developed as in-house solution to run a mid sized recruitment agency operating in the professional, trades/industrial & healthcare sectors. The guiding principles of the system was to ensure it is a platform that supported the growth of the business, created efficiencies and minimized risk.

These principles have continued today and built into RecruitOnline are features that include;

Managing Risk in RecruitOnline
Compliance Flags Hard blocks that manage adherence to business processes (Clients & Candidates/Employees)
Expirable Compliances A system to manage compliance requirements that have an expiry date (eg Licences, Police Clearances, Client Terms, etc)
Job Profiles Templates for managing both the search parameters for a job and the required compliances for that job
WHS Document System The WHS Document system has been designed to provide a framework into which you can build a WHS process for notifying your on-hired employees about job and WHS/OHS information
Employment Contracts The ability to generate Employment Contracts from a booking/order.

With regard to the changes in Labour Hire Licensing Laws we have been proactive and contacted state authorities to find out the formats/processes that will be required for Licence Reporting requirements. To date, we are yet to have a clear indication about these reporting formats but once we do we will be adding functionality that combines RecruitOnline (front end) and PinvoiceR (back end) information in a format that assists in submitting the reports.

Please note - this article has been written with the intent of providing a broad overview about the changing landscape surrounding Labour Hire Licensing Laws and is not intended as providing advice nor interpretation of legislation/regulations and if you require more detailed information about changes and how they may impact your business we would suggest that you contact the relevant licencing authority or the RCSA.