New Guidelines for Contracting Labour (Fair Work Ombudsman)

Worker exploitation has been in the news a lot lately, in Australia. We see it at a grassroots level, especially in industries such as hospitality and retail where franchisees or business owners attempt to take advantage by underpaying workers, omitting entitlements or income. And, it’s also happening in white collar roles, where contracting is increasingly common.

With the consistent rise of usage of contractors in corporate Australia, the networks and contracting supply chains can become complex and difficult to manage.

Hence, the Fair Work Ombudsman has recently published new guidelines for contracting labour in Australia. These guidelines apply to all worker categories, including non-white collar workers. Key to the publishing of these guidelines, is to help Australian companies who use contract talent, to minimise the risk of non-compliance with workplace laws.

The four new resources are outlined below:

1 Guide to Labour Contracting

This guide provides overall direction for minimising risk, when engaging contractors. Factors such as:

  • Knowing the pay and conditions that apply
  • Becoming familiar with the workplace practices of contractors
  • Checking the contract price, so it’s enough to cover wages
  • Setting very clear expectations
  • Being aware of any subcontracting arrangements

2 Guide to contracting labour for small business

This guide primarily focuses on helping small business, so they are compliant when they engage contractors, ensuring all their contracted workers comply with workplace laws. This includes a handy checklist for worker compliance.

3 Guide to monitoring your labour contracting

When an organisation delivers contracting work via a subcontracted business, there’s a tri-party relationship in place. This guide helps the primary business seeking the services, to be protected at every level of the supply chain, ensuring all workers & work practices are legally compliant.

4 Guide to self-auditing your business

A means for reviewing the workplace practices of your business, to ensure you’re compliant with the Fair Work Act 2009, and Fair Work Regulations 2009. The purpose of the self-audit is to help organisations reduce the risk of costly mistakes in the contracting out of services, keeping organisations more competitive when tendering for work, and helps organisations to simply run their business more efficiently.

These guides are well written, they’re easy to understand and apply to your business. The FWO reckons around 94% of assistance sought, is able to be resolved by education, and early intervention. So…. better to be prepared than cop a fine or worse. We recommend you take the time to download & read these guides. And perhaps bookmark them too, so they’re easy to access!


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