What does Victoria’s new Labour Hire Licensing Scheme mean for businesses in Australia?

On 29 April 2019 the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 came into effect in Victoria. This act introduced legislation to cover the regulation and provision of labour hire services in Victoria, with the intention of better protecting workers in the labour hire sector from abuse and exploitation.

Who does the new legislation affect?
The legislation affects individuals and/or entities that make arrangements to hire or host labour hire from Victoria. Labour hire providers are now required to obtain a license and must lodge annual reports on their labour hire activities.

Entities that ‘host’ workers from labour hire providers are required to only use workers from licensed providers and must report unlicensed providers to the Victorian Labour Hire Authority.

Is there a transition period?
Yes. A six month transition period is currently in place so that labour hire providers can secure their license and host businesses can ensure the providers they are using are licensed. This will end on 30 October 2019. The Victorian Labour Hire Authority is also proactively contacting entities that may be affected.

What happens if we host workers from a provider who is unlicensed?
After the transition period ends, you could be hit by significant penalties for using unlicensed providers. To give you an idea, the maximum penalty is excess of $500,000.

So how do we know if a labour hire provider is licensed?
You can check if your provider is licensed by checking the online Register of Licensed Labour Hire Providers at: https://register.labourhireauthority.vic.gov.au/

Our business is in another state or territory – does this apply to us?
If you use labour hire workers from a Victorian provider, then yes, it does apply. This is even when the persons hired will be working outside of Victoria.

Also, be aware your own state or territory may have similar laws. Currently only Queensland and South Australia have their own legislation, however others may follow. For more information on these look at https://www.labourhire.qld.gov.au/ for Queensland and https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/business-and-trade/licensing/labour-hire/industries for South Australia. Note in South Australia the labour hire licensing requirement only applies where workers provided undertake certain types of work.

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