Labour Hire Licensing: Potential for huge fine or imprisonment

Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019

South Australian labour hire licensing requirements will be enforced soon. The requirements include that providers of “labour hire services” must have applied for a license by 31 August 2019, including demonstrating compliance with up to 15 different laws.

South Australian labour hire licensing requirements will be enforced soon. The requirements include that providers of “labour hire services” must have applied for a license by 31 August 2019, including demonstrating compliance with up to 15 different laws.

Providers and clients of “labour hire services” which can include vineyard contracting, pruning and picking gangs, can be subject to a $400,000 penalty and/or 3 year imprisonment when in breach of the South Australian Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (the Act).

Given widespread industry concerns, the South Australian Government in mid-2018 made the decision not to enforce the Act until Parliament had dealt with legislation to repeal the licensing scheme. However, given that the repeal bill now appears unlikely to pass, the scheme will have to be enforced.

Since 2018 the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) has received a large number emails and phone calls from wineries, grape growers, vineyard contractors and labour hire providers being concerned about the impact of the licensing scheme. This includes its impact on business and compliance costs, access to labour and the uncertainty and confusion regarding its coverage.

SAWIA absolutely supports labour hire employees receiving their correct legal entitlements, being treated in a lawful and ethical manner and for employers engaged in deliberate and systematic contraventions to be subject to the full force of the law. However, there are far more effective and efficient ways to address non-compliance.

SAWIA is continuing to lobby for the repeal or at least substantial alteration of the legislation, due to major concerns including:

  • ambiguous drafting of the legislation;
  • excessive and disproportionate penalties;
  • excessive, unfair, anti-competitive and impractical registration requirements;
  • effectiveness of the law when compare to other possible options (e.g. better information sharing and coordination); and
  • costly and unnecessary reporting requirements.

To assist wineries, grape growers and vineyard contractors during July and August SAWIA will be running briefings across South Australia.  To register, visit the event page