Labour Hire Licensing Scheme: Updates

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The "labour hire licensing scheme" - it seems to be the phrase on everybody's lips at the moment, and details have continued to unfold.

The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill (Bill) has now passed both Houses of Parliament and will amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act) once it receives Royal Assent, which is expected to happen imminently. This brings a ten fold increase in penalties for ‘serious contraventions’ of the Fair Work Act - up to $630,000 for companies and $126,000 for individuals.

The amendments extend responsibility to franchisors and parent companies for underpayments where they knew or should have known of the contraventions and failed to take action.

In other changes, provisions have been strengthened on "cash back arrangements", where the employer unlawfully requires employees to pay funds back to the employer. The importance of good record keeping is paramount, as employers may face a reverse onus of proof and have to disprove wage claims made in court.

All businesses should review the way they manage the risk of underpayment and worker exploitation, and check they maintain proper records.

Find out more from Fair Work here.

Julie Mills, Managing Director of APSCo Australia, has shared her views on the recent changes in an open letter to APSCo Australia members.