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Unions attack secretive delays in new laws to protect labour hire workers

June 14, 2018

Unions attack secretive delays in new laws to protect labour hire workers

The State Government has secretly delayed the enforcement of new laws which are intended to protect one of the most exploited groups of workers in South Australia – labour hire workers.

The Government’s Consumer and Business Affairs branch has posted online that it will not enforce the licensing requirements under the new Act until February 2019 – more than eighteen months after the legislation passed in November 2017.

Secretary Joe Szakacs says the new laws came into effect on March 1 this year – and were meant to be enforced from September 1 - but this delay means employers will now have free reign to continue to exploit workers.

“These new laws are aimed at tackling some of the worst abuses of workers that unions have ever seen, including slave-like conditions in the food production industry. These workers, hired by labour hire companies, are sometimes paid as little as $5 an hour.

“The new laws are aimed at tackling those bosses who exploit workers, steal wages, superannuation and workers compensation payments and dodge tax. They will lose their right to operate their business and face jail time if they ignore the law. But now that’s all been put on hold.”

“We call on the State Government to explain why they secretly delayed the new laws, who lobbied them and when they’re going to over-turn this decision and start prosecuting dodgy bosses who exploit their workers.”

This is the detail from the Consumer and Business Services website:

The State Government has received a number of submissions from stakeholders raising various issues in relation to the Labour Hire Licensing Scheme that commenced on 1 March 2018.
Compliance with the Act was planned to commence from 1 September 2018. To enable proper consideration of the submissions received and to allow sufficient time for the issues raised to be appropriately addressed, the Commissioner has advised that at this stage, Consumer and Business Services (CBS) will not enforce the licensing requirements prior to 1 February 2019. Therefore, businesses may wish to postpone seeking a licence until further information is available from CBS.
CBS is working to provide further information to industry as soon as possible, following consideration of the issues that have been raised. The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 commenced on 1 March 2018.
Anyone who operates as a labour hire provider in South Australia must be licensed. It will also be unlawful for employers to use the services of an unlicensed operator.