The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 commenced in Queensland on 16 April 2018. The new Act introduces a labour hire licensing scheme designed to support legitimate operators by requiring that labour hire providers are licensed, and that users of labour hire use only licensed providers.
The key requirements for labour hire providers that were introduced by the new Act are as follows:
- Labour hire providers must be licensed to operate in Queensland;
- Businesses that use labour hire providers must only engage with licensed labour hire providers; and
- Labour hire providers must comply with 6-monthly reporting requirements on their labour hire activities.
A licence will only be granted to labour hire providers that are financially viable, have representatives who are fit and proper to provide labour hire services, and who have a history of, and ability to, comply with relevant laws. Relevant laws include the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).
If a labour hire provider fails to comply with the new Act, they may be faced with fines, imprisonment, or suspension or cancellation of their licence. The Act does not provide for any fines for failing to comply with relevant laws. However, as noted, a breach of a relevant law may result in the cancellation of the provider’s licence. If you find yourself in this situation, it is always best to seek legal advice from an experienced Lawyer in Cairns.
The more serious legal consequences (for example imprisonment or large fines) will be imposed for the more serious offences such as providing labour hire services without a licence, using unlicensed labour hire providers, or entering into avoidance arrangements. In effect, avoidance arrangements are arrangements that seek to avoid the application of the new Act. For example, an avoidance arrangement may be deemed to exist where parties to an arrangement agree to label or characterise an arrangement as something other than “labour hire” (so that they avoid the application of the Act) even though the arrangement is, in fact, a labour hire arrangement.
Some of the maximum penalties introduced by the Act include:
- $378,450 fine for corporations providing labour services without a licence or using unlicensed labour hire providers
- $130, 439 fine, or 3 years imprisonment, for individuals providing labour hire services without a licence or using unlicensed labour hire providers
- $25,230 fine for failing to comply with reporting obligations
- $12,615 fine for failing to provide an inspector with a copy of a licence upon request
- $12,615 fine for providing false or misleading information to an official
Existing labour hire providers will have until 15 June 2018 to lodge an online application to obtain a licence. The legal obligations and penalties in the act will not apply until a licence has been granted.
The Queensland Government has created a dedicated website for this scheme a www.labourhire.qld.gov.au.