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Ai Group Comment: Labor's Labour Hire Announcement

"Industry is concerned about the announcements made today by the Federal Opposition regarding regulation of the labour hire industry. The labour hire industry provides vital flexibility to businesses and to employees, and this flexibility needs to be preserved," Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"Like every other business, labour hire companies must pay no less than what is legally required under the Fair Work Act and awards. Beyond the legal minimum, labour hire companies need to retain the ability to reach agreement with their employees on wage structures and working conditions that meet the needs of their businesses and their employees. The labour hire industry should not be forced through legislation to apply the wage rates and conditions of employment of their clients' businesses. Many labour hire companies offer best-practice employment arrangements.

"With regard to labour hire licensing, an appropriate national labour hire licensing scheme would be better than having separate licensing schemes in each State and Territory. However, there is no sign that the Queensland, South Australian and Victorian Parliaments intend to repeal the legislation they have passed creating labour hire licensing schemes in these States. Overlaying a national licensing scheme on top of the State schemes that are already in place would be a recipe for uncertainty and over-regulation.

"Taking away vital flexibility for labour hire businesses and their clients would reduce the competitiveness of Australian firms and potentially have an adverse impact on employment. The labour hire industry employs hundreds of thousands of employees, many of whom prefer the flexibility that labour hire employment provides.

"Labor has announced that it intends to consult with industry groups when working through the details of its policy. Ai Group will participate constructively in this consultation process," Mr Willox said.

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