Thousands of Staff to be Affected by New Queensland Law

The introduction of a mandatory labor hire licensing scheme in Queensland is too wide, yet too shallow and therefore, does not do enough to protect genuinely vulnerable workers, the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA) believes.

The Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 was gazetted in September and is expected to impact more than 100,000 Queensland staff and 1,450 Queensland-based labor hire companies.

The new law requires all labor hire companies and agencies to hold a current labor hire license and register every six months on a government website.

The legislation was introduced following a number of high profile cases of foreign worker exploitation within the horticulture industry.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Global Staffing Company Survey 2017: Concerns about current and upcoming legislation

RCSA, the industry’s peak body in Australia and New Zealand, believes the new law will not adequately protect vulnerable workers from being exploited by unscrupulous operators and will simply add cost to business.

We believe the answer to addressing the disgraceful practice of exploiting workers is an industry-led, national certification program, which could be enshrined by State legislation.

The RCSA has been working with independent and international certifier group, SGS, to develop the StaffSure certification program which recognizes and rewards legitimate providers, while revealing unscrupulous operators.

StaffSure certification gives a balanced assurance that a labor hire company is operating legally in its key activities and transactions. The program offers a high level of visibility and transparency for a buyer of workforce, contracting and recruitment services, providing comfort in the knowledge they are dealing with a reputable and proven provider.

The StaffSure system was designed after consultation with industry bodies in agriculture and horticulture, government, unions and contractors.

An expansive pilot program of StaffSure was conducted with six labor hire organizations including Queensland’s AWX Pty Ltd and Agri Labour Australia.

“We put our hand up to be involved in the pilot program due to the fact we are ISO accredited and we wanted to ensure the standard of this program was set as high,” AWX regional manager Cameron Abrahams said.

“StaffSure ensures a national level is set and that rogue operators that aren’t up to standard, or are trying to avoid super and tax obligations, are found out.”

The RCSA believes StaffSure will be critical within the new labor hire licensing scheme in Queensland, if that law goes ahead, recognizing the efforts of professional firms to operate ethically and legally.

We also believe StaffSure will help allay fears that the new Queensland Labour Hire Licensing law could see valuable resources within businesses tied up with unnecessary red tape as businesses work to meet new criteria and legislative requirements.

The StaffSure initiative is available to all workforce service providers, including labor hire firms, workforce contracting firms and contractor management firms.

StaffSure assures workforce services firms are compliant across six key areas, including work status and pay, safe work practices and suitable accommodation.

There will be a national database of certified providers which can be used to check the credentials of a company to ensure they are a professional and responsible provider.

A StaffSure pilot program will start in New Zealand in November.

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Charles Cameron

Charles Cameron
Charles Cameron is the CEO of Australia and New Zealand’s industry body for employment services and recruitment, RCSA, and is a board member of the World Employment Confederation.

Charles Cameron

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