Five licences are presently noted on the Queensland labour hire licence register as having been suspended. It is an offence to use a labour hire licence holder whose licence is suspended. The offence attracts penalties including fines up to approximately $400,000 for a corporation ($135,000 for an individual) and 3 years imprisonment. Similar penalties apply to a labour hire services provider who supplies labour hire services whilst suspended.
Suspensions can occur for a number of reasons, including failure to make periodic reports required under s. 31of the Act or providing incorrect or misleading information in a report.
A quick review of suspensions currently noted on the register indicates that all of the suspended licenses were issued before 15 June 2018. That means that they would all have reached and passed their first reporting period.
Under the scheme, licence holders’ first reporting period covers the six-month period starting on the date their licence was granted. For example, if a licence was issued on 15 June 2018, six months ticked over on 15 December.
Licensees have 28 days after the end of each reporting period to submit their report. So, if a licence holder’s first six-monthly reporting period came up on 15 December 2018, the report had to be lodged by 13 January 2019.
Although the regulator, Labour Hire Licensing Queensland (LHLQ) has not yet published any statement of reasons for the suspensions, a fair inference to draw might be that the suspensions currently noted on the register could be related to failure to meet the reporting requirements.
Some support for drawing that inference can be found in LHLQ’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy, which explains that key enforcement strategies include:
Inspector audits to check applicants or licensees are compliant with the Act in terms of being fit and proper persons, six monthly reporting requirements and any conditions imposed on their licence.
Whilst LHLQ does take into account the seriousness of any breach, its Compliance and Enforcement Policy makes clear that it:
…does not regard the following as trivial:
- alleged offences regarding unlicensed providers
- entering into arrangements with unlicensed providers
- entering into avoidance arrangements
- failure to report, particularly where there is evidence that the person knowingly contravened their obligations or did not properly discharge their duty to ascertain their obligations.
If my hunch that the current suspensions may be related to reporting contraventions is right, we can expect to see more suspensions over the coming weeks. So, don’t get caught. Check the issue date on your licence and make sure that you get your reports in on time. If you need help, ask for it.
In the meantime, here’s a useful link to the regulator’s guide to reporting.