Staffing firms in the Australian state of Victoria will be subject to a new licensing law starting April 29. The new law affects client companies as well, which could face fines of up to AUD$500,000 (US$352,000) if they use an unlicensed firm, according to a statement by Tim Pallas, the minister of industrial relations for Victoria.
The licensing legislation was passed last year and targets labor hire firms, as staffing companies are known in Australia, that may be using inappropriate practices. It also established a Labor Hire Authority.
“A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work is a fundamental right and one we will uphold – this scheme is part of our zero-tolerance approach to the exploitation of Victoria’s workers,” Pallas said in a statement.
Victoria’s labor hire industry is estimated at having revenue of approximately AUS$4.5 billion (US$3.17 billion) per year, according to Pallas. Labor hire firms will have six months from April 29 to get a license or face penalties.
While the state of Victoria is moving ahead with its labor hire licensing plan, Australia’s coalition government for the country as a whole accepted recommendation from its Migrant Workers’ Task Force last week that called for a national labor hire licensing plan that would cover just the horticulture, meat processing, cleaning and security industries. In addition to licensing, that plan also called for jail time for executives of companies that exploit workers.
The Australian state of Queensland also has a labor hire licensing plan, which took effect in April 2018.