Latest update: Victoria to regulate labour hire industry
13th December 2017
The Victorian Government has introduced new laws which will crack down on the exploitation of labour hire by, introducing a licensing scheme to regulate the controversial industry.
The Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 seeks to protect labour hire workers from being underpaid and exploited by labour hire businesses and hosts who use labour hire workers.
Consultation: A labour hire licensing scheme for Victoria
On 10 September 2017, the Victorian Government announced its intention to introduce legislation establishing a labour hire licensing scheme.
Key features of the proposed licensing scheme include:
- Providers of labour hire services in Victoria will be required to be licensed – they will need to declare and demonstrate that the business and its key personnel are fit and proper persons and are compliant with workplace laws, labour hire industry laws and minimum accommodation standards.
- Users of labour hire services will be required to use only licensed providers.
- Substantial civil financial penalties will apply to providers operating without a licence, and to hosts engaging an unlicensed provider, amongst other things.
- The licensing scheme will be administered by a Commissioner for Labour Hire Licensing, as head of an independent Labour Hire Licensing Authority. The Commissioner and the Authority will be responsible for licensing decisions, maintaining a register of licensees, investigations, compliance, education and development of a voluntary code for labour hire operators.
- An inspectorate within the Authority will have broad powers to investigate non-compliance with the licensing scheme.
- Interested persons will be able to object to licence applications and request reviews into some licensing decision.
The labour hire industry is a significant employer of Victorian workers and a major contributor to the Victorian economy. There are various legitimate and sound commercial reasons for Victorian businesses to utilise labour hire arrangements. Labour hire enables a flexible approach to the engagement of labour which assists businesses deal with peaks and troughs in demand. Notwithstanding this, there is a significant problem with ‘invisible’ labour hire agencies and arrangements, operating almost entirely outside existing regulatory frameworks. There are various ways in which labour hire workers are treated almost like a ‘second class’ of worker, with treatment ranging from outright exploitation in certain sectors through to differential treatment in respect of issues like health and safety, dismissal and rostering.
The licensing scheme is expected to improve transparency of the labour hire industry, improve compliance with workplace and other laws and protect vulnerable employees from exploitative behaviour. Licensing is expected to establish an even playing field for labour hire providers by making it harder for unscrupulous operators to participate in the market.
Consultation paper on the scope of the Victoria's licensing scheme
Victoria’s labour hire licensing scheme will apply to all providers of labour hire services in Victoria.
However, it is important to ensure that the scheme does not capture arrangements for supply of workers to a third party which would not be commonly understood as labour hire arrangements. Accordingly, the legislation or regulations may limit its application, or carve out certain types of arrangements from the operation of the scheme.
Your views are sought on several proposed limitations on the scheme’s application, or exemptions from the scheme’s requirements.
The attached Consultation Paper provides more information, as well as examples of possible exclusions.
- Victoria's Labour Hire Licensing Scheme - Consultation Paper - Development of RegulationsLabour-Hire-Licensing-Consultation.PDF (PDF 65.34 KB)
- Victoria's Labour Hire Licensing Scheme - Consultation Paper - Development of Regulations (alternate version)Victoria's Labour Hire Licensing Scheme - Consultation Paper - Development of Regulations (DOCX 31.24 KB)
How to submit a comment
Submissions are now closed for comments.
Victoria calls for national labour hire licensing scheme
The Victorian Government has urged the Federal Government to develop a national scheme to license labour hire operators, in consultation with the states, in a submission to the Commonwealth Black Economy Taskforce.
Download the Victorian Government's submission
Page last updated: 2 January 2018