Commercial cleaning industry


In Victoria, most businesses who supply cleaners to commercial premises must have a labour hire licence, and any business using these services must only use licensed providers.

These licences help to ensure all businesses are meeting their obligations – to protect workers, and support fairness, transparency, and integrity in the labour hire industry.

Penalties of more than $600,000 can apply to unlicensed providers, as well as to any business using
their services.

Penalties also apply for advertising labour hire services without a licence, or before a licence application is approved. Any subcontractors to a labour hire provider must also be licensed.

The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic) defines which businesses require a licence, as well as limited circumstances where a licence may not be required.

All licensed providers are listed on Labour Hire Authority's Register of Licenced Labour Hire Providers.

Businesses can also opt to be notified of any changes in the status of a licence, such as if it is cancelled or suspended, by clicking Follow my Providers.


The examples provided below are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. You should consider your particular circumstances when determining whether you require a labour hire licence. If you are unsure, you should seek legal advice.

Scenario 1

Judy operates Judy's Cleaning as a sole trader. She has one employee who cleans residential homes with Judy. Judy also cleans commercial premises on her own. Judy does not require a licence as she is a sole trader and she does not provide workers to clean commercial premises.

Scenario 2

Building management for a large office building enters into a contract with Best Commercial Cleaners Pty Ltd (BCC) to supply management with cleaners to clean the office building. The cleaners work on rotating shifts to clean the office building during set hours. BCC is a labour hire provider because it is supplying the cleaners to clean commercial premises and requires a labour hire licence.

Scenario 3

A hotel complex needs additional cleaners to clean their hotel rooms. They contact AAA Hotel Cleaning Pty Ltd (AAA) to provide extra cleaners for three weeks to cover the peak period. AAA supplies two cleaners who work alongside the hotel’s employed cleaners. AAA is a labour hire provider because it is supplying the two cleaners to clean commercial premises and requires a labour hire licence.

Scenario 4

Joe is a commercial cleaner and the sole director and operator of Cleanest Cleaner Pty Ltd (Cleanest Cleaner). He has several small commercial cleaning contracts with kindergartens and medical centres. He cleans the kindergartens and medical centres by himself and does not hire any staff. Cleanest Cleaner does not require a labour hire licence because it is a one director company, Joe is the director who participates in the management of the company but also provides himself to do the cleaning work.

Scenario 5

Specialist Cleaners Pty Ltd (Specialist Cleaners) provide specialist cleaning services on site to both domestic and commercial customers. Specialist Cleaners require a labour hire licence because they provide workers to perform activities as a cleaner in a variety of commercial settings. If Specialist Cleaners only provided a domestic cleaning service, they would not require a labour hire licence.

Scenario 6

Flock Poultry Pty Ltd is a poultry processing establishment (as defined in regulation 5) which has a services agreement with Sanitation Ready Pty Ltd for cleaning and sanitation services. Sanitation Ready supplies sanitation crews who are trained in sanitation cleaning methods and chemical handling. Sanitation Ready is obliged to pay their sanitation crews but will invoice Flock Poultry for the services they are providing. Sanitation Ready is not involved in killing, processing, preparation or packing of the poultry.

In this scenario:

  • Although Sanitation Ready is engaged under a contract for services, it is supplying workers to Flock Poultry to perform activities as a cleaner in a commercial premises.
  • An individual performing activities as a cleaner in a commercial premises is taken to perform work in and as part of a business or undertaking which is part of the meaning of provides labour hire services set out in sections 7 and 8 of the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (regulation 5).
  • Flock Poultry is taken to be a business or undertaking of a host because regulation 5(1)(a) applies to the sanitation crew (regulation 6).
  • The sanitation crew are workers as they each have an arrangement with Sanitation Ready under which Sanitation Ready supplies the sanitation crew workers to other persons, under a services agreement to perform work, and Sanitation Ready is obliged to pay the sanitation crew for their performance of that work.

Scenario 7

Aussie Nuggets Pty Ltd is a poultry processing establishment that processes chicken pieces and value-added chicken products such as crumbed nuggets. Aussie Nuggets has a contract for services with Bright White Laundry Pty Ltd for the pickup, laundering and delivery of customer owned uniforms. Every day Bright White Laundry staff pick up Aussie Nuggets’ soiled uniforms and drop off hygienically cleaned uniforms to Aussie Nuggets. Bright White Laundry and Aussie Nuggets agreed on designated pick up and drop off areas at Aussie Nuggets premises, to avoid cross contamination. All laundering takes place at Bright White Laundry’s industrial laundry site.

In this scenario:

  • Although Bright White Laundry is providing a service to Aussie Nuggets, it is not a labour hire provider because it is not supplying workers to work in and as part of the business or undertaking of another person.
  • The Bright White Laundry staff are not workers because they are not performing activities as a cleaner in a commercial premises.
  • All the work is being performed at Bright White Laundry’s premises and their staff are only picking up soiled uniforms from, and dropping off hygienically cleaned uniforms to, Aussie Nuggets.
  • While Bright White Laundry is obliged to pay their own employees there is no arrangement between Bright White Laundry and its employees that Bright White Laundry supply its staff to other persons to perform work.

Scenario 8

High Flying Window Cleaners Pty Ltd (HFWC) employs specialist window cleaners to clean the exterior windows of high-rise office blocks. This cleaning requires the use of swing scaffolds, boatswain’s chairs, hydraulic bucket trucks and similar devices. When the cleaners are not cleaning, they do other tasks such as routing repair work or building maintenance (of a non-trade nature).

In this scenario:

  • Regulation 5 covers individuals who clean “in a commercial premises”, and these cleaners are cleaning the outside of the building.
  • However, as the “premises” includes the grounds belonging to the building, the cleaning would take place “in” the premises.
  • HFWC therefore requires a licence, and the business engaging HFWC to do the cleaning needs to ensure that HFWC holds a licence.