Labour hire laws in Victoria have changed, where restrictions on labour-hire firms and those organisations engaging them, have been eased due to the COVID-19 crisis. If you own or run a labour hire firm in Victoria or if your organisation engages (or is about to engage) a labour-hire firm, this is important, so read on!
Victoria’s Labour Hire Licensing Authority announced recently that it will let labour-hire firms operate without a licence in the immediate term, as long as operators have a licence application with the Authority, by midnight on 30 June 2020.
What’s the Scoop?
The main reason given for this short-term relaxation of the law is due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Authority has demonstrated an understanding that no labour-hire organisation has been immune to the fall-out of the pandemic; this is true across the full scope of business impact. From losing business, organisations going under, to an increase in business, an increase in the supply of workers as well as new labour-hire firms looking to supply workers.
It’s been a tumultuous, chaotic time for labour-hire firms, and those that engage them. Keeping up with state-based laws, especially given their differing mandates, can be tricky.
The Labour Hire Authority recognises that these are unprecedented times. The coronavirus situation is affecting labour hire hosts, providers and workers and has resulted in changes to the labour hire industry. Some labour providers have lost business, other providers are experiencing an increased demand for labour hire workers and an increased supply of workers looking for work, and new providers are seeking to supply workers to various industries during this pandemic.
Labour Hire Authority Victoria, 28 April 2020
The Authority has deemed it will not take action against a provider for delivering labour-hire services without a licence, up until the deadline, as long as an application is made. In addition, no action will be forthcoming upon a host company who engages a labour-hire firm, on the proviso that all parties to the relationship are compliant in their dealings.
Hence, this move comes with a cautionary note: as long as all parties involved in the labour-hire relationship, are not in breach of any workplace laws – like OHS, compensation, superannuation and the like – and as long as the provider has made the application by June 30, then no action will be taken by the Authority.
How Does This Affect Labour Hire Companies in Victoria?
Put simply, it takes the pressure off for now.
If you supply workers to another organisation, the law requires you to hold a relevant labour-hire licence. However, if the supply of that labour is not the normal or representative component of your service offering, it’s unlikely that you’ll be required to hold a licence. In this scenario, the provision of workers to another organisation is usually in the form of specialist, expert services.
How Does This Affect Organisations Engaging Labour Hire Firms in Victoria?
If your organisation utilises the services of a labour-hire firm to supply you with workers, you must use a labour-hire provider that is licensed.
Be mindful that in situations where your organisation is taking on workers with specialist skills and expertise from another organisation, the need for the supplying organisation to be licensed is unlikely. As long as this type of secondment arrangement is not the central purpose of the supplying organisation, you can utilise these workers with zero headaches.
What Other Conditions Apply?
The Labour Hire Licensing Association in Victoria has also set out specific arrangements within specific industries. These include workers performing activities in industries such as horticulture, meat and poultry processing plants, and commercial cleaning.
A Final Reminder
- If you’re a labour-hire organisation, make sure you have a licence application lodged before June 30, 2020
- If you’re operating before June 30 without a licence, ensure you’re fully compliant with all workplace laws at both state and federal levels
- If you engage labour-hire organisations to supplement your workforce, you have a responsibility to use a licensed provider or one that has an application lodged with Victoria’s Labour Hire License Authority. If you’re yet to engage a labour-hire organisation, the Authority has published a list of licensed labour-hire providers and those you have lodged an application. This will ease the burden of uncertainty for you when appointing a provider to work with your organisation
- Don’t think this action by the Victorian Labour Hire Authority is an invitation for you to dodge the law. The impact of COVID-19 is the reason the authority has taken this action and provided leeway. Get your application in. Or for the host organisation, use only a licensed provider
For details on Labour Hire licensing laws in other states, check out the links below.
SA Government, Labour Hire Licensing
Labour Hire Licensing Queensland
ACT labour hire licensing summary
A summary of state-based laws
The Federal Government’s workplace obligations factsheet
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