Questions and Answers

Why is a labour hire licensing scheme being introduced in Queensland?

  • Over the past few years, a number of government and parliamentary inquiries and media investigations have uncovered and highlighted significant evidence of the serious exploitation and mistreatment of labour hire workers including:
    • underpayment, or non payment of, workers’ wages, taxes and superannuation
    • not providing workers’ compensation cover
    • not providing appropriate safety equipment or training
    • housing workers in substandard accommodation
    • forcing workers to use particular travel services at vastly inflated prices
    • mistreating workers, including through sexual harassment
    • hold on to worker’s passports
    • avoiding their responsibilities by ‘phoenixing’ businesses.
  • The Queensland Government has developed a labour hire licensing scheme to stop the exploitation and mistreatment of workers and support legitimate operators by requiring that labour hire providers are licensed and that users of labour hire use only licensed providers.

Who does the scheme cover?

  • The scheme applies to labour hire providers in Queensland who in the course of carrying on a business supply workers to another person to do work.
  • The scheme also covers the users of labour hire services in Queensland and requires that users of labour hire only use licensed providers.
  • Interstate or overseas organisations that provide labour hire services in Queensland will need to be licensed if they operate in Queensland.
  • If you supply workers to other persons to do work, you will most likely be covered by the scheme unless the Act or a Regulation provides otherwise.
  • The Act does not cover:
    • workers doing voluntary work
    • students placed in work experience positions
  • Pursuant to section 7(3), the following persons do not provide labour hire services merely because they are:
    • a private employment agent under the Private Employment Agents Act 2005
    • a contractor who enters into a contract to carry out construction work within the meaning of the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 engaging subcontractors to carry out the work;
    • another person or class of person prescribed by regulation.
  • However, if these persons provide labour hire services they will be within the scope of the Act.
  • The Act provides that Regulation that may prescribe a person or class of person exempt from coverage by the Act. If you would like to receive updates about development of the Regulation, please email labourhirereg@oir.qld.gov.au.

When will the scheme begin to apply?

  • The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 commences on 16 April 2018.
  • Labour hire providers will have 60 days from this date to lodge an application for a licence. If an application is made within the 60 day period the obligations and penalties of the Act will not apply until the licence has been granted.
  • In the meantime, if you would like to receive updates about the scheme, please email labourhirereg@oir.qld.gov.au.

How can I get a licence?

  • From 16 April 2018, you will be able to apply for a licence online.
  • As part of the application, you will need to:
    • identify yourself (e.g. your name, address and ABN)
    • identify at least one person (who can be you) as a nominated officer who is responsible for the day to day operations of the labour hire business
    • show that the nominated officer or officers are fit and proper people to provide labour hire services
    • show that you can comply with the relevant laws
    • show that the labour hire business is financially viable
    • pay an application fee.
  • Accreditation, registration or holding a licence under another recognised scheme, such as an industry certification scheme, may also be considered in an application under the labour hire licensing scheme.
  • Application fees, and any other information required for an application, will be set out in the Regulation. If you would like to receive updates about the scheme and the development of the Regulation, please email labourhirereg@oir.qld.gov.au.

What do I have to do as a labour hire provider?

  • If you are a labour hire provider under the scheme, you must have a licence to operate in Queensland. Penalties will apply if you provide labour hire services without a licence. Information on how you will be able to get a licence is available here labourhirereg@oir.qld.gov.au.
  • Once you have a licence, you will provide a regular report to the chief executive every six months. This report will be made on-line.
  • The report will include:
    • the number of workers supplied during the period
    • a description of the employment arrangements entered into between yourself and the workers
    • where your workers worked
    • the type of work your workers did
    • details of any accommodation you provided
    • information about your compliance with relevant laws, and any disciplinary or enforcement action taken
    • details of any health and safety incidents your workers were involved in, or applications for workers’ compensation that your workers made.
  • The Regulation may set out other information you may need to supply. If you would like to receive updates about the scheme or development of the development of the Regulation, please email labourhirereg@oir.qld.gov.au.

What do I have to do if I want to use labour hire workers?

  • If you have workers supplied to you or your business to do work, you need to check your arrangements to see if they would be considered labour hire services under the Act.
  • If you want to use labour hire workers, you must only use a licensed provider. Penalties will apply if you use a provider who isn’t licensed.
  • The Queensland Government will provide a searchable public register of licensees. This will let you check if a labour hire provider is licensed.

How will the scheme help to protect workers from exploitation?

  • The scheme will:
    • raise the standard of integrity and behaviour across the labour hire industry
    • drive unscrupulous operators out of the market by not granting them a licence, and by suspending or cancelling their licences if they fail to comply with the Act
    • require operators to comply with other relevant laws, such as the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
    • provide strong penalties for people who operate unlicensed, use unlicensed operators, or who make arrangements to avoid their obligations under the Act or Regulation
    • increase transparency across the industry and provide better information to workers and users of labour hire services.

How will compliance with the scheme be enforced

  • The Queensland Government will employ inspectors to inspect and audit labour hire providers and the places their workers work. Inspectors will be able to enter and search premises, and require labour hire providers and users to provide information.
  • High penalties will apply for breaches of the Act, including for providing labour hire services without a licence, and for using the services of an unlicensed provider.

Where will I be able to find information on licensed providers?

  • The Queensland Government will run an extensive awareness and education campaign leading up to and beyond the start of the scheme. The campaign will include online, print and radio advertising.
  • The Queensland Government will publish information online on a stand-alone labour hire website. If you are involved in labour hire, whether as a worker, provider or user, the website will provide you with easy to follow guidance and resources about your rights and obligations.
Last updated: 12 December 2017