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Action required - new labour hire licencing scheme impacts all aged care and community service providers

By Kristin Ramsey11 Apr 2018

Further to our recent update on the new labour hire licencing scheme, further details have been released about the scheme and how it applies to aged care and community service providers.

In particular, the question of whether home care providers are required to hold a licence has been addressed.

Who needs a licence?

From 18 April 2018, all labour hire providers will need a licence to operate in Queensland.

A “labour hire provider” is a business that supplies, to another person, a worker to do work.

This is a very broad definition and could apply to a number of businesses in the aged care and community services sector that do not traditionally regard themselves as labour hire providers.

Home care providers

One of the key questions for the industry is whether home care providers are caught by the definition of labour hire provider.

On the face of it a home care provider does supply workers to another person (the client) to do work and therefore arguably is caught by the scheme.

Under the regulations, however, a person is not a “worker” if they are an in-house employee of the provider and the provider supplies them to another person to do work on a temporary basis on 1 or more occasions. The regulations give the specific example of a person employed by a community care organisation on an ongoing basis who usually works for the organisation in a variety of locations including in another person’s home – and states that this person would not be a worker (therefore the provider does not require a licence).

As such, whilst there is no clear /express exemption for home care businesses or organisations that provide home care services, it is possible that such providers won’t require a licence (in relation to their home care services). This is an area that is not entirely settled however and providers that offer home care services should seek advice on their particular business structures.

What do you need to do?

As per our last update under the new laws all:

  • labour hire PROVIDERS will need to hold a licence in order to lawfully operate; and
  • all USERS of labour hire services need to ensure that they only engage licenced providers.

What this means is that aged care and community service providers need to:

1. Assess whether they undertake any activities which fall within the definition of a labour hire provider and if so apply for a licence.

Note:

  • For existing businesses, this application must be made before 15 June 2018.
  • If you intend to start a new labour hire business/start to provide labour hire services after 18 April 2018 you will need to apply for a licence before you can commence operations.

2. Identify whether they use services which are regarded as labour hire, and if so take steps to ensure that the provider either has a licence or has applied for a licence.

Note:

  • You can continue using your current labour hire service provider provided they apply for a licence prior to 15 June 2018. You will need to regularly check to see whether their licence is approved.
  • If you engage a labour hire provider after 18 April 2018 you will need to check whether they were established prior to 18 April 2018. If they were established after 18 April 2018 you cannot engage them until they hold a licence.

Failure to hold a licence (where you provide labour hire services) or using an unlicensed labour hire provider can result in substantial fines and even imprisonment.

Useful information

The QLD Department of Treasury website contains some information that may be useful to providers.

In addition, a new government website will be set up from 18 April 2018 to provide further information on the scheme and a list of licenced providers. This is also where applications can be made.

The website will be www.labourhire.qld.gov.au and will be supported by a help desk call centre on 1300 576 088.

Need some help?

These changes impact the entire industry, not just labour hire providers.

We can assist by:

  • Providing advice on whether your organisation requires a licence; and
  • Assisting with the licence application process.

Please contact Kristin Ramsey – Employment & Workplace Relations Practice Group leader for further information or if you require assistance in this area.