Queensland Labour Hire Licensing Scheme to commence April 2018

The Queensland Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 has now been proclaimed to commence on 16 April 2018. Businesses covered by the licensing scheme as labour hire services providers will have 60 days from 16 April 2018 to apply for a licence.

Critical to the operation of the labour hire licensing scheme is its scope. As the Act currently stands, a large number of business-to-business services that provide labour, even as a secondary or associated function, could be covered by the scheme as a provider. Users of such businesses services would also be covered by the scheme in respect of obligations to only engage licensed providers.

The Government is developing subordinate regulation that may provide some possible exemptions from scheme. Ai Group has been active in identifying a large number of exemptions for the Queensland Government to consider in narrowing the scope of the scheme, so that the many ‘non-labour hire’ business and commercial arrangements (and users of such arrangements) will fall outside the licensing scheme. Further subordinate regulation is needed around the administration of the licensing scheme and the application process for businesses wishing to obtain a licence.

In light of the Queensland election on 25 November 2017, the Government has gone into caretaker mode and will postpone consultation over the subordinate regulation until after the 25 November election.

What does this mean for business?

Clarity over whether or not businesses will be covered by the scheme will not be established until the regulations are developed – likely very early 2018. Ai Group will continue to consult with the Queensland Government and represent industry concerns about the scope and other aspects of the scheme after the election on 25 November 2017.

Companies who may be covered by the scheme but are not  ‘typical’ labour hire providers should still be familiar with the scheme. The recent Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 (Cth) that is now operative should also be a good trigger for companies to ensure that their systems regarding employee record keeping, employment models and contract management systems are compliant with workplace laws. Having effective systems in place will assist any application for a licence and complying with the reporting requirements under the scheme.

Companies who are squarely labour hire providers should be reviewing their arrangements so they are prepared to apply for a licence within the timeframe above. The exception may be if there is a change in Government with sufficient numbers to repeal or amend the licensing scheme legislation early in 2018.

Ai Group will be holding a further online event for members about the licensing schemes on 5 December (register here). This will update our previous online event, delivered on 20 September 2017, a recording of which is available here.

For further information about the Queensland labour hire licensing scheme, please contact Nicola Street, Ai Group’s National Manager – Workplace Relations Policy.

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As Ai Group's National Manager – Workplace Relations Policy, Nicola is involved in employment test cases and law reform affecting the workplaces of industry. She regularly appears in the Fair Work Commission and Government Inquiries on behalf of Ai Group members, and has many years of “on the ground” strategic experience in advising employers in employment law and people & culture strategies.

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