New labour hire rules start soon

By Country News

Victoria’s first ever Labour Hire Licensing Scheme, which aims to protect workers and crack down on dodgy operators, will come into force on April 29 — with contractors given six months to sign up or else face significant penalties.

Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said last week the scheme would bring a new level of integrity and scrutiny to the labour hire sector and ensure vulnerable workers were kept safe from exploitation and being underpaid.

The scheme is in response to the independent Victorian inquiry into the labour hire industry and insecure work, which uncovered widespread abuse and exploitation of workers across Victoria.

Under the scheme, providers of labour hire services will be required to hold a licence and hosts will only be allowed to use licensed providers.

To obtain a licence, providers will be required to pass a ‘fit and proper person test’ and show compliance with workplace laws, labour hire laws and minimum accommodation standards, as well as report annually on their activities.

Legislation establishing the scheme passed last year and also led to the establishment of the Labour Hire Authority, which is responsible for the rollout of the scheme and will support its implementation with education, enforcement and compliance activities.

Mr Pallas said the authority would deliver more than 20 industry sessions across the state over the next month to peak bodies and key labour hire operating sectors.

Host employers that use unlicensed providers face fines of up to $500000.