Payroll licence conditions imposed on horticulture provider to prevent potential worker exploitation

16 November 2023
Payroll licence conditions imposed on horticulture provider to prevent potential worker exploitation

The Labour Hire Authority (LHA) recently granted a labour hire licence to a provider in the horticulture industry, conditional on the company submitting monthly payroll reporting.

Based on the provider’s licence application, LHA found a risk of non-compliance with the Fair Work Act regarding employees’ pay and conditions.                   

LHA decided to grant the application with a Payroll Employee Summary Report (PESR) licence condition. The PESR condition requires the provider to submit a monthly payroll employee summary report to LHA, even if no employees were engaged during the month, to provide visibility and enable LHA to review and make enquiries if required.

The business expressed willingness to comply with this condition and to work with LHA to monitor ongoing compliance.

Use of licence conditions

LHA assesses licence applications using a range of tools and methodologies, to protect workers and improve the integrity of the labour hire industry. This may involve reviewing an applicant’s ability to ensure workers receive the right pay and conditions, including by confirming that the appropriate award or agreement is nominated in licence applications.

Licence conditions like the PESR condition are one of many regulatory approaches LHA uses to monitor how labour hire services are provided in Victoria. In circumstances where an applicant is not able to satisfy LHA that a risk of non-compliance is appropriately managed, a licence application may be refused.

Conditions may also be applied during the term of a licence, based on LHA investigations, annual reporting or other data and intelligence gathering.

Standard licence obligations

As well as complying with any specified conditions, all providers must comply with a range of obligations in order to maintain a licence, including:

  • providing annual reporting
  • notifying LHA within 30 days of certain changes to the business
  • ensuring all business decision-makers are ‘fit and proper’
  • ensuring nominated officers are available to LHA.

Providers must also remain compliant with relevant laws, including workplace, taxation, superannuation, health and safety, workers compensation, labour hire industry, migration and transport laws, along with any applicable accommodation standards.

Compliance and enforcement in horticulture

The horticulture industry continues to be a focus of LHA compliance and enforcement, with recent significant activities including:

As well as these enforcement actions, LHA has recently undertaken a range of investigations of horticulture providers, resulting in refusals of licence applications and cancellations of licences.

The horticulture industry has also been a strong focus for LHA’s program of regional engagement across 2023, with our team visiting towns and regional centres and meeting directly with horticulture hosts and stakeholders.