[Australia] Majority Of Labour-Hire Construction Films Did Not Follow Workplace Safety Laws

24 JUN 2020

An Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABBC) audit of 63 labour-hire construction employers found that 79 per cent failed to meet all their obligations under Australia’s workplace laws, Staffing Industry Analysts report. 

The failures the audit highlighted included employers not paying their workers correctly, not keeping proper records and not giving their workers payslips.

Additionally, the report revealed that 48 per cent of non-compliant employers contravened the record-keeping and/or payslip provisions of the Fair Work Act.

The Commission identified non-compliance issues which included failure to keep a record of overtime hours worked by an employee, incorrect ABN/employer (Australian business number) name on the payslip, payslip not recording the date the payment was made and payslip not recording the pay period for which the payment related.

64 per cent of non-compliant employers had reportedly failed to pay the correct base rate for ordinary hours, allowances, overtime or penalties.

Stephen McBurney - ABCC Commissioner - said the agency’s Wages Group recovered AUD 563,860 (USD 386,103) for 1,337 employees during the audit. It was finalised in the 2019/20 financial year.

“The ABCC has recovered more than AUD 2.1 million (USD 1.4 million) in wages and entitlements for 3,174 construction workers since it assumed this function on 2 December 2016,” Mr McBurney said. “Our proactive audits have accounted for 80 per cent of the wages and entitlements we have recovered for employees in the Australian construction industry.”

The report highlighted the fact that labour-hire arrangements involve a triangular relationship in which a labour-hire business supplies a worker to a host employer for an agreed fee.

“The precarious nature of labour-hire employment means workers are less likely to speak up about their working conditions,” Mr McBurney added.

Dave Noonan - the union's national construction secretary - spoke to The Age saying that the ABCC's decision not to pursue fines or name wrongdoers showed it was not enforcing the law properly against employers. (Link via original reporting)

Charles Cameron - the Chief Executive of industry body Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association of Australia & NZ - said it was concerned by the findings and was in agreement that labour-hire firms should be beyond reproach when it came to simple award compliance.

Source: Staffing Industry Analysts