Information for all Businesses – Providers and Hosts
Cleaners of commercial premises are a focus of an expanded compliance and enforcement program by Victoria’s Labour Hire Authority (LHA).
Under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic), businesses that supply workers other than a director to clean commercial premises generally require a labour hire licence.
Labour hire providers must meet a range of obligations – including to comply with relevant laws, report on their activities, and for the people running the business to be ‘fit and proper’.
Cleaning services in commercial premises can include:
- carpet cleaning
- gutter cleaning
- window cleaning
- office cleaning.
Commercial premises can include:
Anyone involved in procuring or recommending these cleaners, such as facilities managers, should ensure their cleaners are licensed, to avoid significant risks around unlicensed labour hire operations.
Businesses can check the LHA website to ensure their provider is licensed, and subscribe to be notified of any changes in licence status.
LHA works with property and facility managers, and online platforms such as Cm3, to ensure all businesses understand their obligations and risks, and take steps to comply.
Victoria’s Labour Hire Licensing scheme
Victoria’s licensing scheme was introduced in 2018 to protect vulnerable workers and improve the integrity of the industry, following a number of inquiries highlighting unlawful practices and exploitation.
The Victorian scheme followed the introduction of a labour hire licensing scheme in Queensland. Schemes are also in place in South Australia and the ACT. Hosts/users and providers should ensure they are aware of their legal obligations regarding labour hire in their local jurisdictions.
Licensing helps to ensure companies meet their obligations to workers, and supports fairness, transparency, and integrity in the labour hire industry.
Obligations under the Victorian scheme
Under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic), labour hire providers must meet a range of obligations, including to:
- hold a valid licence before advertising or providing labour hire services
- ensure directors and other key people in the business are ‘fit and proper persons’
- meet their obligations to workers regarding pay and conditions
- meet their legal obligations in areas such as taxation, superannuation and workplace health and safety.
Labour hire providers who act as intermediaries and on-supply workers from other businesses must ensure that any subcontracted providers also hold a valid labour hire licence.
LHA provides tools to help businesses ensure that their providers are licensed, and stay up to date with any changes in their status:
Maximum penalties exceeding $600,000 for companies and $150,000 for individuals apply under the Act, for providing or engaging unlicensed labour hire services.
Businesses providing unlicensed labour hire services can also face significant penalties if they do not comply with a range of other obligations under labour hire law.
Penalties for non-compliance
Significant penalties may apply under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic) to businesses and individuals who do not meet their obligations.
Both providers and users (‘hosts’) of labour hire services have obligations, with maximum penalties exceeding:
- $600,000 for a corporation
- $150,000 for an individual.
Maximum penalties apply for providing or using unlicensed labour hire services, including to any unlicensed subcontractors supplying workers.
Penalties also apply for advertising labour hire services without a licence, and to providers if they do not meet other obligations under the Act.
All licensed providers are listed on the LHA website, and businesses can subscribe to be notified of any changes to a provider’s licence status or conditions.
Visit LHA’s dedicated commercial cleaning industry webpage to access a range of guidance and information, and access LHA tools: labourhireauthority.vic.gov.au/commercial-cleaning
You can learn more about Victoria’s labour hire licensing scheme, including how to apply for a licence and how to comply with your obligations, on the LHA website
You can also contact LHA on 1300 545 200 or at [email protected].
Information For Providers
Applying for a licence
You can apply for a Victorian labour hire licence online – the process is outlined in detail on the LHA website.
LHA assesses most applications within 60 days, with the vast majority determined within 90 days. While the application is being assessed, companies cannot provide or advertise labour hire services, including advertising services on online platforms such as CM3.
Licence fees must be paid at application, annually and at licence renewal.
|Fees: 2023-24 financial year||Application fee||Annual fee||Renewal application fee|
|Tier 1 business (turnover of less than $2,000,000)||$1,717.20||$1,192.50||$1,717.20|
|Tier 2 business (turnover of between $2,000,001 and $10,000,000)||$4,579.20||$3,180.00||$4,579.20|
|Tier 3 business (turnover of more than $10,000,000)||$8,458.80||$5,851.20||$8,458.80|
Hosts such as facility managers need to be mindful of these time frames to avoid unknowingly putting pressure on the provides to supply copies of their in-force licenses within 30 days.
Advertising without a licence
Labour hire providers must be licensed before advertising their labour hire business or services in Victoria.
It is unlawful for individuals or organisations without a labour hire licence to advertise labour hire services, or hold themselves out to be a labour hire provider. The licence must have been granted – having applied is not sufficient.
Any promotional material that states or implies willingness to provide labour hire services is considered advertising, and may include:
- television and radio adverts
- newspapers and other publications
- flyers in mailboxes of homes or businesses
- paid and organic posts on social media platforms
- an active website promoting services
- posting to online community message boards and pages
- placing a business on pre-qualification advertising platforms.
If an application to renew a licence is not lodged before it expires, all advertising must cease until a new licence is granted. Learn more about renewing a licence early.
Information For Hosts
Businesses that host commercial cleaning workers
Host businesses – those that engage workers through labour hire providers – also have obligations under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic).
The key obligation for hosts is to use only licensed labour hire providers, though hosts can also be liable for a provider’s contraventions under workplace and migration law.
Significant maximum penalties apply for hosts found breaching the Act, exceeding:
- $600,000 for a corporation
- $150,000 for an individual
To ensure a provider is licensed, hosts should:
- use LHA’s Register of Licensed Labour Hire Providers to check a provider is licensed
- use LHA’s Follow My Providers tool to be notified of any changes to a provider’s licence status or conditions.
Hosts have a range of obligations to workers, and should be aware that many of these remain, whether staff are engaged as employees or via a labour hire arrangement. To minimise compliance risks and help ensure continuity of service, hosts should also:
- check the age of the provider’s company, industry details, and their number and proportion of independent contractors
- ask for evidence of providers’ company structure, hierarchy of control and contracting arrangements
- limit subcontracting arrangements in their engagement of labour hire providers
If you are a host and want to ensure the provider has taken all steps to apply – you can monitor the process by using the Received application register which will show you that your provider has applied and is being assessed by the Authority.
How businesses can contribute
Businesses can help to protect workers and improve the integrity of the labour hire industry by only using licensed providers, and by taking active steps to ensure that workers on their premises are being treated lawfully.
Businesses can also assist by reporting any providers doing the wrong thing via the LHA website, around issues such as:
- labour hire worker mistreatment or underpayment
- unlawful arrangements (e.g. tax avoidance)
- a provider advertising or providing services without a licence.
Reports should include details such as business names and addresses, dates and relevant documents or other evidence.
Managing Labour Hire Risk with Cm3
Cm3’s compliance experts are working closely with regulators to develop a dedicated labour hire risk review that addresses the requirements of Labour Hire providers across Australia and New Zealand.
Currently, labour hire licenses can be monitored and managed under Cm3’s trade license risk review, ensuring both the host organisation and the labour hire provider are protected from financial penalty.
Contact Cm3 today to learn more about how best to manage risks associated with labour hire.