On 19 June 2018 the Victorian Parliament passed The Labour Hire License Bill (Vic) by 21 votes to 19, minor amendments are to be returned to the lower house for endorsement.
This introduction of labour licensing legislation follows the similar legislative changes in Queensland and South Australia and may add momentum to the introduction of a national scheme. The scheme attempts to address the recent instances of mistreatment and exploitation of workers by labour hire service providers, as outlined in the Victorian Government Submission to the Commonwealth Black Economy Taskforce (the Submission). The Submission outlines the Victorian scheme’s promotion of positive change towards a fairer labour hire industry and advocates that it will challenge the “wide spectrum of legal compliance within the labour hire industry”.
Victorian Scheme – What might it mean for providers and hosts?
Compliance obligations under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic) (the Act) are expected to commence on 1 November 2019 with a transition period of six months. Providers of labour hire services will be required to obtain a license meaning businesses engaging the labour hire services will then only be able to use licensed providers. Over the next few months the Victorian Government will commence an information campaign educating the industry on the new regulations and it is expected businesses will be required to apply for a license from next year.
In order to obtain a license, labour hire companies must pass ‘a fit and proper person test’ which will involve illustrating that the business is financially viable and is capable of compliance with workplace laws, labour hire laws, and minimum accommodation standards. Fitness and propriety will need to be tangibly demonstrated by providing the Commissioner for Labour Hire Licensing with relevant documents.
The licensed labour hire companies will be listed on a public register and any companies that fail to comply or that operate unlicensed will be liable for substantial civil penalties.
Delays in South Australian Scheme
The South Australian Government has issued a statement providing that it will not enforce compliance with its licensing program until February next year –15 months after the legislation passed in November 2017.
The purpose of the delay was to allow the government to review the “various issues” raised by stakeholders with the scheme.
If you have any questions relating to the licensing scheme’s compliance obligations and/or demonstrating fitness and propriety, please do not hesitate to contact Nick Stevens, Jane Murray or Angharad Owens-Strauss.