Labour Hire Licensing Deadlines Fast Approaching
Labour Hire Licensing is sweeping across the nation. If you’re a labour hire agency, or if you engage the services of one, it is crucial that you are aware of the implications of this on your business.
By the end of 2019, three Australian states will have implemented Labour Hire Licensing Schemes: Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. In addition, the ACT is currently working on their own licensing scheme.
While Queensland’s licencing scheme is already up and running, all South Australian labour hire providers operating in SA must lodge their applications by 31st August 2019, and Victoria is not far behind with their deadline at the end of October (29th).
So, what are the differences between the states?
The wording in the Acts in each state varies and this means that terms, definitions and reporting requirements can be different for each scheme.
Businesses will need to carefully review the requirements expected of them under the legislation to ensure they are well prepared proceed with the licensing process. Some of the states allow for exeptions, while others are very broad and can include labour hire agencies that are not even located in the state. The criteria for a license also varies.
Knowledge and Experience Criteria
The recent APSCo Australia: Across the MD’s Desk webinar honed in on Labour Hire Licensing in South Australia and raised some valuable points.
One of the issues identified in the webinar was the qualification threshold required with regards to ‘Knowledge and Experience’ requirements. It is now possible for certain nominated persons from an organisation who already possess a Laboure Hire License (from Queensland or Victoria) to meet the requirement threshold for a licence in South Australia. However Dianne Gibert, MD of Certex International and provider of the Labour Hire Licensing Preparation Service, has warned that the new scheme of Victorian licences will not be approved in time to be applicable for prospective South Australian licences.
Insight into the Victorian application process indicates that delays in processing applications have arisen largely due to mistakes in applications or missing information (Victoria has had over 400 applications submitted with none approved yet). These delays may be reflected in the South Australian process as well, therefore businesses looking to undergo the licensing process in South Australia should be aware of these challenges and prepared to correctly follow application obligations.
Businesses should take the opportunity to get started on the licensing process as soon as possible, this way they can also ensure clients (especially those in other states) are aware that they are going through this process of complying with the necessary authority and regulations.
Businesses must ensure they are working only with labour hire agencies that are properly licensed. Each state has a register of agencies that are licensed, or applications received, that you can check. In Victoria there will be an option to receive a notification if the status of the agency you work with has changed.
It is important to note that working with a licensed labour hire agency does not remove the obligations on the host client to meet existing obligations towards workers, such as safety, work rights and work skills etc. If you have any questions about your obligations please contact Certex to find out more.
There are heavy penalties to both labour hire agencies and the host clients for non-compliance within the schemes. A labour hire agency operating without a license, and host clients using labour from such agencies, both face penalties that could include fines and imprisonment. In Queensland, which was the first to come into effect, 14 licenses have been cancelled with 50 suspended to date.
South Australia: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/business-and-trade/licensing/labour-hire-licence