New ACT Labour Hire Laws


Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2020 (ACT)

Please be advised that the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2020 (ACT) (the Bill) passed the Australian Capital Territory Parliament on 21 May 2020 and was notified on 27 May 2020.

The Bill will commence on a day fixed by the Minister or automatically 12 months after its notification day.

Background

The primary purpose of the Bill is to encourage responsible employment practices in the ACT labour hire sector. The Bill seeks to ensure that labour hire businesses operating in the ACT meet their workplace obligations and responsibilities to their workers.

The Bill will achieve this through setting up a framework that is effective in preventing and responding to non-compliance with workplace standards in the labour hire industry by:

  • requiring labour hire operators to be licensed;
  • providing disincentives for use of unlicensed labour hire operators;
  • including a ‘suitable person’ test to determine suitability for licensing; and
  • requiring licensees to demonstrate a history of, and ongoing compliance with, industry standards and workplace laws.

Meaning of Labour Hire Services

The Bill broadly defines the term ‘labour hire services’ in order to ensure that labour hire industry is regulated as a whole.

Clause 7 of the Bill states that a person (a provider) provides labour hire services if, in the course of carrying on a business, the person supplies to another person (the hirer) a worker to do work.

A worker is supplied by a provider when the worker starts to do work for the hirer.

The provider provides labour hire services regardless of whether the worker is employed by the provider; there is a contract for the worker to do the work; the worker is supplied to the hirer directly or indirectly; or the work completed by the worker is under the control of the provider or hirer.

Note that there are two situations under the Bill where a person does not provide labour hire services, including:

  1. where a person is a contractor who enters into a construction contract to carry out construction work, or
  2. if the person is prescribed by regulation.

Meaning of Worker

In order to ensure all workers within the labour hire industry are protected, the Bill also uses a broad definition of the term ‘worker’.

Clause 8 of the Bill states that an individual is a worker for the provider if the individual enters into an arrangement with the provider under which the provider may supply, to another person, the individual to do work; and the provider is obliged to pay the worker, in whole or part, for the work; either directly or indirectly.

Labour Hire Licenses

Part 4 of the Bill sets out the requirements to hold a labour hire licence for providers.

Specifically, clause 23 of the Bill provides that a person must not provide labour hire services unless the person holds a labour hire licence. A licence can be obtained by applying to the Commissioner in writing and must include any information prescribed by regulation.

Suitable Persons

Note that the Bill will provide for whether an applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence.

The Commissioner, in deciding whether to issue a licence, will consider factors including:

  • the applicant’s honesty, integrity and professionalism;
  • whether the applicant has a history of compliance with workplace laws and standards;
  • the status of the applicant’s previous licenses (if any); and
  • whether the applicant has been convicted of an offence against workplace laws or standards.

Offences

Finally, the Bill provides a range of offences attracting serious penalties to support and strengthen the new regulatory licensing scheme.

Under clause 33 of the Bill, a person commits an offence if the person provides labour hire services and does not hold a labour hire licence, carrying a maximum penalty of 800 penalty units for an individual (currently $128,000) or 3,000 penalty units for a corporation (currently $2,430,000).

This clause also provides that a person commits an offence if the person falsely represents that they hold a labour hire licence, carrying a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units (currently $33,600).

Under clause 34 of the Bill, a person commits an offence if that person holds a labour hire licence that is subject to a condition and the person fails to comply with the condition, carrying a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units (currently $33,600).

Under clause 35 of the Bill, a person must not enter into an arrangement for the provision of labour hire services to a person unless the proposed provider of the labour hire services is the holder of a licence, carrying a maximum penalty of 800 penalty units for an individual (currently $128,000) or 3,000 penalty units for a corporation (currently $2,430,000).

Please click here to access the full Bill.


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au