The meat processing industry will be a focus of Labour Hire Authority (LHA) engagement and compliance this summer, with activities planned in a number of key Victorian locations.
Under the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic), workers are generally considered labour hire workers if they are supplied by a labour hire provider to another business to perform activities such as manufacturing, processing, killing, dressing, boning, slicing, preparation or packing.
LHA has cancelled a number of labour hire licences in the meat processing industry to date, after uncovering non-compliance with legal obligations through LHA’s intelligence-led compliance program.
In addition to complying with the Act, meat processing providers must ensure they:
- pay workers in line with the relevant award
- withhold/pay tax and make superannuation contributions for their workers
- comply with migration law when engaging workers on temporary visas
- meet record-keeping obligations
- remain transparent in the information they supply to LHA
- only place workers in clean, hygienic and safe accommodation, and do not make unreasonable pay deductions for accommodation
- do not improperly engage workers as independent contractors.
In addition to these, providers and hosts must consult, coordinate and cooperate with each other to meet shared workplace health and safety duties to labour hire workers, and should:
- share information that allows them to jointly manage health and safety
- implement health and safety arrangements and respond to reasonable requests
- work together to eliminate gaps in health and safety measures.
Where a labour hire worker requires personal protective equipment (PPE) or industry-specific vaccinations to safely perform their work, providers and hosts should ensure they are provided at no cost to the worker. PPE and other safety equipment must also continue to meet standards required by health and safety legislation.
As part of its expanded compliance program in the meat processing industry, LHA will undertake site inspections, as in other labour hire industry areas.
Broadly, under the Act, LHA compliance officers may:
- enter premises relating to a labour hire business, its workers or documents
- require hosts or providers to produce documents
- inspect, copy or take extracts of documents
- require hosts, providers or other relevant people to answer questions
- take photographs or audio-visual recordings.
Workers, providers and hosts are also encouraged to report a problem if they experience mistreatment, or see unlicensed or unlawful behaviour by labour hire providers.
LHA is undertaking engagement activities focused on the meat processing industry, to support providers and hosts to understand and comply with their obligations. Keep an eye on the Events page on the LHA website for upcoming information sessions.
For more information you can also visit the LHA website, or download Meat and poultry processing: Guidance for labour hire providers and hosts.