The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (Qld) (Act), which was passed on 7 September 2017, has been proclaimed to commence on 16 April 2018. This means labour hire providers as defined by the Act will have 60 days from that date to lodge their licence application.
But who must be licensed?
There is still considerable uncertainty about the scope of the legislation. The definitions of ‘provider’ and ‘worker’ are very broad and only a handful of intended exclusions were mentioned in the Explanatory Notes. Currently, many businesses not typically considered labour hire providers will require a licence. This may, depending on the individual circumstances, include entities who supply labour to related entities and those who place individuals on professional secondments.
Given this uncertainty – and the very wide net cast by the definitions – businesses supplying workers across Queensland are keen to review the Government’s draft regulations (yet to be released) identifying the types of arrangements that will be excluded. The Government intends to begin consulting with stakeholders on the draft regulations once released, which will be after the State election on 25 November 2017.
Of course a question on many businesses’ minds is what will happen if Labor does not win the election? Given the LNP’s past opposition to the Act, if they are successful in the election, the scheme could be repealed before it even commences. And if the balance of power is held by minority parties and independents, the situation will be even less clear.
Despite these uncertainties, businesses in Queensland should not assume particular arrangements will be excluded by the regulations, and will be best-placed if they understand their potential exposure (and that of their suppliers) now.
Further information about the Act
For further details about the broader scheme introduced by the Act – including the types of offences and penalties facing corporations and individuals – please see our earlier update here. For a summary of the positions taken by government, non-government and crossbench members of parliament during the second reading debate, see here.