New Date For Vic. Labour Hire Licensing: “Up-Close & Personal” Workshop – Prepare Your Application

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By request, we’ve shifted the date for the third advanced workshop in WorkAccord’s Vic. Labour Hire Licensing; “Up-Close & Personal” series. The “Prepare your Application” workshop has been moved to 3 May 2019 to allow an opportunity to review and digest the Authority’s guidance material, due to be released by 29 April, when the scheme commences.

We’ve designed this series especially for participants who already have some knowledge of the scheme but need to go deeper to explore its implications for their business or advisory services.

You’ll get to examine:

  • eligibility criteria – who is prevented from applying?
  • information that you need to support your application
  • the “accommodation trap”
  • the “visa trap”
  • the “worker classification trap” – how to identify the different categories of workers you need to report on (employees v independent contractors v hybrid workers)
  • data matching traps
  • the fit-and-proper-person requirement
  • “skeletons-in-the cupboard” and what to do about them
  • removing the “dead wood” and some hard conversations you may need to have
  • mutual recognition, interstate licences and “approved schemes”
  • the Authority’s discretion to grant a licence even if the application does not satisfy all requirements
  • licence fees and how they are calculated
  • the question of timing
  • tactical withdrawal

Learning objectives

  • Gain confidence in managing the application process
  • Identify the information you will need and prepare an information capture plan
  • Evaluate your compliance history
  • Avoid leaving yourself open to refusals and objections
  • Develop an application preparedness strategy you can take back to the office

THIS IS A FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW AND DRAW ON THE GUIDELINES WHICH THE VICTORIAN LABOUR HIRE AUTHORITY SAYS IT WILL HAVE IN PLACE BY THE SCHEME COMMENCEMENT ON 29/4/19.

Come along as we will answer some of the hard questions that may have been causing some concern.

Class sizes will be strictly limited to ensure a high level of interaction and quality learning.

To find out more or to reserve your place check out the Eventbrite registration page here.  Or copy this link into your browser https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/vic-labour-hire-licensing-up-close-personal-prepare-your-application-tickets-59754284674

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Andrew C Wood.

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Contractor Management Companies under Victoria’s Labour Hire Licensing Scheme.

Victoria’s Labour Hire Licensing scheme may cause some headaches as it tries to extend its coverage to contractor management service providers. That’s because there’s likely to be uncertainty about what a contractor management service provider actually does.

Section 8(2) of the Act provides:

 (2)     A person (a provider provides labour hire services if—

(a)     in the course of conducting a business of providing contractor management services, the provider recruits one or more individuals for, or places one or more individuals with another person (a host ) to perform work in and as part of a business or undertaking of the host; and

(b)     the individuals are workers for the provider, within the meaning of section 9(2)(b).

The explanatory memorandum, which accompanied the legislation in its passage through Victorian Parliament somewhat unhelpfully explained:

Contractor management services” is not defined in the Act, but has its ordinary meaning, which covers services whereby a business recruits independent contractors on behalf of a third party (host) and, following engagement of the independent contractors by the host, continues to manage the performance of the contract between the independent contractors and the host. This might include, for example, providing administration and payroll functions, supervision functions or performance management functions in relation to the independent contractor.

But what if the contractor appoints the business to manage the performance of the contract (or parts of it) – i.e. the business is a contractor appointed CMC (it happens)?  Does it make a difference?

And what if the contractor is not an individual (as required by s. 8(2)(a) and 9(2)(b)), but is an incorporated worker instead?

What if the provider recruits the incorporated entity and leaves it to the incorporated entity to recruit or provide the individual – perhaps under the reg.4(1)(c) exception?

Does the incorporated worker exception still apply if the contractor is supplied as a cleaner in a commercial premises? (see reg. 5(a)).

What other outsourced functions, apart from administration and payroll functions, supervision functions and performance management functions, amount to contractor management services according to the “ordinary meaning” – whatever that is? Would the provision of safety inductions be enough? Would onboarding assistance, or “performance monitoring” for the purpose of managing a candidate replacement guarantee be enough?

These might be the sorts of questions that the Authority would be keen to dismiss as questions “asked by clever lawyers” – as though that were a bad thing. But thank goodness there are some who are asking them and attempting to answer them… because, at some point, they’re going to be contested as matters of black letter law and not merely as a “vibe” picked up from a current affairs programme, a campaign manifesto, or a regulator’s website.

And before we ever get to that point, there’ll be plenty of providers, hosts, and contractors wanting to know where they stand.

If you want to participate in this discussion or learn from it, why not register for WorkAccord’s Intermediate/Advanced Level Webinar on 29 May 2019.

The link below will take you to the Eventbrite registration page, where you can find out more details about the webinar.

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/labour-hire-licensing-contractor-management-payroll-outsourcing-tickets-60801308350

The webinar will be recorded and can be accessed on demand following the live presentation.

The cost is $145 for live participation (including access to the recording) and $95 for the recorded version only.

As always, there’s a limited number of complimentary free tickets available, which people registering for the webinar might like to offer to their clients or staff. Please contact me if you’d like to take up one of the complimentary tickets.

I hope you can join me.

Andrew C. Wood

 

It Was All Smooth Sailing Until that Bl@@dy Independent Contractor Problem Raised Its Head…Again!

iStock-536170913.jpgOne of the challenges that will confront Victorian labour hire providers is that of providing the Authority with accurate data about:

  • the total number of employees;
  • the total number of independent contractors; and
  • the total number of workers who have been employed or engaged as both an employee and an independent contractor. 

It shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s clear from the wording of the regulations* that the Authority will be expecting applicants to get the classifications right. And that’s never easy.

Bromberg J, in On Call Interpreters and Translators Agency Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation (No 3) [2011] FCA 366, summed it up pretty well at para [206].

…the absence of a simple and clear definition which explains the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor is problematic. It is troubling that in the circumstances of the bicycle couriers dealt with in Hollis, the parties involved needed to travel to the High Court to obtain a clear exposition of the legal status of the couriers.  Workers and those who employ or engage them require more clarity from the law. That is particularly so when important legislation such as the Fair Work Act (and its predecessors dating back to 1904) have steadfastly avoided defining what is an employee, yet demand (on pain of civil penalty) that there be no misrepresentation as to the nature of the work relationship. (citations omitted)

This time the penalties are likely to include refusal, loss or suspension of a licence and/or penalties for making a false declaration if the information is required to be supported by a declaration under the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (Vic). And that carries penalties of up to about $97,000 or imprisonment for 5 years or both.

And then, there’s the little issue about what the Authority is going to do with the information. Remember, you also have to provide information about the industries into which you supply services and the Awards under which you operate. That information is likely to be matched up.

What do you think is going to happen if an applicant declares that it supplies an uncharacteristically high number of independent contractors to an industry in which independent contracting is not the typical or dominant form of engagement – say nursing or horticulture?

You’re going to want to get this right!

So, to plan your application and give it the best chance to avoid getting tangled up, come along to one of WorkAccord’s Vic Labour Hire Licensing: “Up-Close & Personal” masterclasses or advanced workshops as we work through these issues.

Better still, come along to them all!

You can find out more about the series on our Eventbrite registration pages:

  • Masterclass #1 Reach and Limitations (23/04/19 from 9.00 am to 12:00 pm)
  • Masterclass #2 Managing Adverse Outcomes (23/04/19 from 1.00 pm to 4:00 pm)
  • Workshop #3 Prepare Your Application (3/05/19 – morning and afternoon sessions)

I hope to see you there.

Andrew C. Wood

* Labour Hire Licensing Regulations 2018 (Vic), regs 11 and 12.

Don’t Let Your Victorian Labour Hire Licence Application End Up Like This…

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Even High Flyers Get Tangled Up!

Nearly 12 months after the commencement of Queensland’s labour hire licensing scheme, there are more than 70 applications, lodged within the two-month transition window, which have still not been finalised. It’s clearly not been smooth sailing for everyone.

With a six month transition period in Victoria, we can be certain that the Labour Hire Licensing Authority will have time to subject applicants to close scrutiny.

So, to plan your application and give it the best chance to avoid getting tangled up, come along to one of WorkAccord’s Vic Labour Hire Licensing: “Up-Close & Personal” masterclasses or advanced workshops. Better still, come along to them all!

You can find out more about the series on our Eventbrite registration pages:

  • Masterclass #1 Reach and Limitations (23/04/19 from 9.00 am to 12:00 pm)
  • Masterclass #2 Managing Adverse Outcomes (23/04/19 from 1.00 pm to 4:00 pm)
  • Workshop #3 Prepare Your Application (3/05/19 – morning and afternoon sessions)

I hope to see you there.

Andrew C Wood

 

 

 

Victoria’s Clocks Are Back to Normal and Time Is Ticking Down to Labour Hire Licensing

It’s time to be thinking about your application before the scheme starts on 29 April 2019.

Once the scheme starts, you’ve got 6 months to get your application in –  i.e. by 29 October 2019. So, come along to  one of WorkAccord’s masterclasses or advanced workshops

You can find out more about the series on our Eventbrite registration pages:

  • Masterclass #1 Reach and Limitations (23/04/19 from 9.00 am to 12:00 pm)
  • Masterclass #2 Managing Adverse Outcomes (23/04/19 from 1.00 pm to 4:00 pm)
  • Workshop #3 Prepare Your Application (3/05/19 – morning and afternoon sessions)

I hope to see you there.

Andrew C. Wood

Don’t forget to lodge your Qld labour hire licensing reports. Failure could result in suspension … or worse!

Young thoughtful businessman making a call and writing notesFive 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.

Andrew C. Wood