The recent changes to the Fair Work Act made by the Closing Loopholes Bill have triggered a series of questions from ACAPMA Members. In this instalment of Q & A on the new laws we explore Labour Hire.
The Fair Work Act was amended by the Closing Loopholes Bill No. 1 in early December 2023 – see here for recap. The changes included the introduction of changes to the Labour Hire rules.
Often referred to as ‘Same Job Same Pay’ the labour hire changes were contentious in some segments and despite receiving significantly more press than other elements of the Bill(s) the operation of the labour hire changes has caused many questions and a bit of confusion.
The federal labour hire provisions are in addition to the current State provisions, such as the requirement to use a licenced or registered labour hire provider in some States.
What changed with the new laws is that labour hire providers are required to pay labour hire employees no less than the rate of pay that employees of the host business receive for the work. This is the essence of ‘Same Job Same Pay’ and is referred to in the Act as the ‘protected rate of pay’.
If the labour hire provider is, found to or suspected to, have breached the ‘protected rate of pay’ requirement can be taken to the Fair Work Commission who can issue a Labour Hire Arrangement Order that enforces the rate of pay that is to apply to the labour hire provider employees when they are at the host business.
Member Q & A
Does this mean that we cant use labour hire workers?
No. The changes do not remove the option of a business to employee additional or seasonal staff as labour hire workers.
Does this mean that we will have to pay our staff the same as the labour hire workers we bring in over Christmas?
No. The changes place responsibilities on the labour hire PROVIDERS, the business providing you with the workers. The PROVIDER is required to ensure the workers they provide to you are receiving at least the same as they would get if they were your employees.
Does this mean we have to give different information to the businesses we hire labour hire workers from?
Yes. In order to ensure that they are paying their employees, that they are hiring to you, at least what your direct employees make for that same work, your labour hire provider may ask for a raft of information including;
- the size of the business (the provision for protected rate of pay does not apply to workers placed in small business), and
- if you have any employees that do the kind of work the labour hire workers will be doing for you, and
- the employment instrument, classification and remuneration that applies to your own employees doing the work (the Award/EBA, classification and pay rate and penalties), and
- any incentive based payments or allowances you provide to your own employees doing the work.
For more information on the operation of labour hire since the adoption of the changes on 15 December 2023 see – https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/contracting-labour-supply-chains
Here to Help
Through the year ACAPMA Employment Professionals are available to assist members via firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is general in nature and covers things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by calling 1300 160 270 and speaking to one of ACAPMA Employment Professionals its free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $860 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts.
Visit: https://acapma.com.au/membership/ to apply for ACAPMA membership.
Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)