Quality and consistency through collaboration

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) has been amended to allow employees, unions and host business/organisations to apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order (RLHA Order) that labour hire employees must be paid at least what they would receive under a host business/organisation’s enterprise agreement (protected rate of pay). If a RLHA Order is made, the labour hire employer will need to pay labour hire employees this protected rate of pay.

What is the rationale for the changes?

  • A Senate Inquiry heard evidence of examples where workers, who were employed by labour hire companies, were paid thousands of dollars less to perform the same work alongside employees directly employed by a host company.
  • In some context, labour hire has been perceived as means of circumventing enterprise agreement pay rates and remain competitive.
  • The changes aim to address concerns about ‘the labour-hire loophole’.
  • They provide a regulatory framework to implement the ‘same job, same pay’ principle.

Will this impact me?

We have compiled some questions to help you asses the risk:

New labour hire laws

When will these changes come into effect?

These changes commenced on 15 December 2023; however, regulated labour hire arrangement orders cannot come into force until at least 1 November 2024.

About Sparke Helmore

We’ve come a long way since our doors first opened in the Hunter in 1882. We’ve had an office in Sydney since the ‘60s and we recently opened our ninth office in Darwin.

We cover six key areas of law – Corporate & Commercial, Commercial Insurance, Government, Property Environment & Finance, Statutory Lines of Insurance and Workplace – with more than 30 specialised areas of expertise. We’re a truly national, full service and proudly Australian firm that delivers results through deep collaboration with our clients. Wherever our clients need us, that’s where we’ll be.

Covering a big country needs a big team—we’re more than 850 people now and still growing. And in true Australian spirit, we’re friendly, approachable and easy to work with. And when you work with one of us, you get the expertise of all of us.

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