Labour hire laws problematic for businesses

by Kylie Field

Sep 13, 2017

The Queensland and South Australian labour hire licensing Bills are highly problematic for businesses for both those that supply labour and those that use labour supplied by other businesses says Australian Industries Group chief executive Innes Willox.

Willox made the comments on September 11, 2017 after the Victoria government announced its intention to implement a licensing scheme across all industries. 

"Not wanting to be left behind in getting tough on employers, the Victorian Government has announced its intention to implement a licensing scheme across all industries, even though a major Victorian inquiry only recommended introducing a licensing scheme in a few industries where problems have been occurring,” said Willox. 

According to the Ai Group any legislative responses need to be measured, balanced and fair.

“The Queensland and South Australian Bills are not measured, balanced or fair, and there is the risk that the Victorian Government will follow suit.”

"Ai Group released our submission to the SA Government on its labour hire legislation highlighting the following major problems:   

  • Numerous genuine contracting arrangements would be covered by the legislation, far beyond any reasonable notion of 'labour hire'. Within industry, businesses provide a huge array of different services to other businesses, and often labour is involved to a greater or lesser extent. The Bills would lead to the disruption of countless business-to-business services;
  • The Bills impose unreasonable costs and regulatory burdens on not-for-profit group training providers which coordinate the training of tens of thousands of apprentices and trainees, and would impose significant barriers to the employment of apprentices and trainees;
  • The penalties are excessive. Under the provisions in the Bill, harsh civil and criminal penalties will be imposed on businesses, owners and managers, including imprisonment for up to five years. The penalties will apply to those who provide 'labour hire services' without a licence and those that use an unlicensed service provider;
  • The regulatory burden imposed on suppliers of labour is extreme;
  • The Bills expose businesses, their owners and managers, to significant risks and added costs. 

"These problems were also inherent in the Queensland Bill which passed through the Parliament recently and will come into operation shortly. The South Australian Bill is before Parliament. The Victorian Government has announced its intention to introduce legislation into Parliament later this year.” 

"Ai Group opposes unlawful labour hire practices. However, in Ai Group's experience, the vast majority of labour hire companies are reputable in their employment practices and comply with relevant laws and regulations.” 

"The interests of labour hire companies and users of labour hire, as well as the interests of the broader community, are best protected by ensuring that a competitive market is maintained for the provision of labour hire services and that an unnecessary regulatory burden is not imposed," Willox said.

 

Image sourced from Flickr cc: Alberto Vaccaro 


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