Labour hire providers in Queensland will soon be subject to new labour hire licensing laws, which will prevent businesses from entering into labour hire arrangements with unlicensed providers.

The Queensland Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (the “Act”) aims to protect labour hire workers from exploitation and promote the integrity of the labour hire industry by establishing a mandatory licensing scheme, requiring all labour hire providers to be licensed.

Who is a labour hire provider?

A labour hire provider is a person who, in the course of carrying on a business, supplies, to another person, a worker to do work. This means that even organisations who have an employer company providing labour hire services to another related company may be caught by the Act.

How will the Act affect labour hire providers?

The Act has a number of key features:

1.  It creates a requirement for labour hire providers to be licensed in order to operate and supply labour in Queensland;

2.  To obtain a license, labour hire providers must establish that they are a fit and proper person who is capable of providing labour hire services in compliance with relevant laws and that their business is financially viable;

3.  Persons who engage labour hire providers must only engage licensed providers;

4.  Licensees will be required to provide six monthly reports on labour hire and associated activities including accommodation and compliance with applicable laws;

5.  Strong penalties will be applied for any breach of the obligations owed under the Act; and

6.  A labour hire licensing compliance unit will be established to promote awareness of the scheme and ensure compliance.

When does the Act commence?

The Act will commence on 16 April 2018.  Accordingly, businesses that provide labour hire in Queensland must now start to prepare for the new laws.

How can labour hire providers prepare for the changes?

Labour hire providers should review their current arrangements to ensure that they will comply with the new laws, otherwise they risk facing large penalties for non-compliance with the Act.  A labour hire licensing website will provide helpful information about the scheme and the rights and obligations of labour hire providers, workers and users of labour hire.

Labour hire providers will also be able to apply for a labour hire license online from 16 April 2018. Making an application involves:

1.  Filing an application in the approved form;

2.  Providing accompanying information regarding:

–    the financial viability of the business;

–    compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011(Qld) and Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) for the five years before the application is made;

–    any other information that may reasonably be required to determine whether the labour hire provider is a fit and proper person to provide labour hire services; and

3.  Paying a prescribed application fee.

Labour hire providers will have 60 days to lodge an application from this date. They will also be able to lodge any reports they are required to complete in the future, by using this online service.

The online register

Once a labour hire provider is licensed, they will be listed on a register of licenced labour hire providers, which allows users of labour hire and workers to confirm whether they are dealing with a legitimate licensed provider.

If you have any questions regarding the scheme or would like further information regarding how your business can prepare for the changes, contact the team at HR Law for advice.

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