Update: Victorian Independent Inquiry into Labour Hire and Insecure Work

Update - Victorian Independent Inquiry into Labour Hire and Insecure Work

The Health Workers Union has been working with Consultants hired by the Victorian government, Victorian Trades Hall Council and other trade unions to develop and implement a Labour Hire Scheme in Victoria to protect workers.

The HWU has been pushing for the labour hire scheme to include the following:

  • Labour hire companies will be required to be licensed
  • To qualify and keep a licence, labour hire companies will have to demonstrate the following:
    • Compliance with the Fair Work Act;
    • A strong occupational health and safety record; and
    • The labour hire company will need to pass a ‘fit and proper’ persons requirement.
  • Labour hire companies that breach the proposed Victorian Labour Hire schemes rules and or the Fair-work Act, will be met with huge fines and disqualification from the scheme!

Finally, after many months of negotiations the Legislation regarding Victorias first labour hire scheme is set to be introduced to the Victorian Parliament on 13 December 2017.

Basically, the Victorian government is establishing an independent statutory authority to crack down on labour hire firms use of undocumented and underpaid labour-hire workers across the state.

Under the laws to be introduced to Parliament on Wednesday, only a person that is considered to be "fit and proper" will be able to operate a labour hire firm. Additionally, only licensed labour hire firms will be able to compete for contracts.

In order to keep labor hire companies and their operators honest, The Victorian government will establish a new body, namely, the Labour Hire Licensing Authority.

The Labour Hire Licensing Authority will have the authority to fine labour hire companies that do not have a licence to operate or others that work with an unlicensed company.

The Labour Hire Licensing Authority will have the power to issue fines to those that break the rules! Individuals breaking the rules may be fined up to $126,000 and companies or a body corporate may be fined up to $500,000.

In addition to the above fines, individuals assaulting, intimidating or threatening an inspector from The Labour Hire Licensing Authority can receive a $38,000 fine or a jail sentence. Body corporates be fined up to $190,000 for each offence.

The introduction of the labour hire scheme will make it harder for unscrupulous operators to participate in the market.

This outcome is a big win for the union and workers! The HWU will continue to work with government and other partners to ensure that workers are protected from exploitation and that workers are paid in accordance with Victorian and Commonwealth legislation.

Kamal Bekhazi

Senior Research Officer

Health Workers Union