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The Queensland Government has recently established a mandatory licensing scheme for providers of labour hire services. The purpose of the scheme is to prevent the exploitation and mistreatment of workers and support legitimate operators of labour hire services.

The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Qld) (“the Act”) which takes effect from 16 April 2018, requires labour hire service providers to be “licensed” and demonstrate that they are “fit and proper” to be providers of labour hire services. Licensees will also be required to provide half yearly reports on labour hire and any associated activities.

The Act also requires users of labour hire services to only engage workers from licensed labour hire providers. The Act defines a provider of labour hire services as “someone who, in the course of carrying on a business, supplies to another a worker to do work.”

In addition to the Act, the Labour Hire Licensing Regulation (“the Regulation”) provides further clarification to ensure that the Act does not capture unintended classes of workers. These are:
(a) genuine secondments;
(b) workplace consulting;
(c) a high-income worker (i.e. an employee earning over $142k per annum and not covered by an industrial instrument);
(d) a worker who is also the director, partner or owner of the business;
(e) an in-house employee who is temporarily supplied to another person; and
(f) employees working for an employing entity used wholly within a single recognisable business. This exclusion covers workers supplied by a provider to another person – if the provider and the other person are each part of an entity or group of entities that carry on business collectively as one recognisable business. A person includes a company or other employing entity.
Failing to comply with the obligations under the Act (including receiving labour hire services from an unlicenced supplier) can attract significant pecuniary penalties. Labour hire providers will have until 15 June 2018 to lodge an application for a licence.

HW Litigation can assist providers and users of labour hire services to comply with their obligations under the new licensing scheme. For further information, please contact a member of our team.