Sourcing labour

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Labour contracting

Labour contracting is when an employer contracts another business to provide workers, or services that include labour. Sometimes that business then subcontracts out the labour to another business. This can create a ‘supply chain’ or ‘contracting network’.

It's important you engage contractors who do the right thing by their workers in the supply chain. This means the contractors follow workplace laws and workers receive their lawful entitlements including correct pay and leave.

By doing checks of your supply chain, you can help protect your business against  significant risks including damage to your business name and 'accessorial liability' - being held legally responsible for a contractor’s actions. This is important because if someone in your supply chain is underpaying workers and you know about it, you may be held responsible.

For help with selecting a labour hire provider, go to our Using labour hire page.

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Employing legal workers

Employers are responsible for only employing people who are legally allowed to work in Australia. You might receive an infringement notice or face civil penalties if you engage or refer an illegal worker even if the person was sourced from a referral agent, labour supply company, or contractor or subcontractor provision services.

Learn more about employing migrant workers through labour hire, including sample contractual clauses you can use, on the Department of Home Affairs website external-icon.png.

If you employ migrant workers (either directly or through a labour hire arrangement), it’s important that you understand visa types and how to comply with visa rules and conditions, and ensure your worker has the right to work in Australia.

To check the visa details of employees and potential employees, register with the Department of Home Affairs’ free Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) external-icon.png system. Make sure you check regularly for any changes to an employee's visa conditions. 

For more information and advice about visas, go to the Department of Home Affairs website external-icon.png or call 1800 040 070.

Your business may also be required to register with the Australian Taxation Office as an employer of migrant workers and withhold tax according to the ATO's requirements. For more information, go to Employer registration for working holiday makers on the Australian Tax Office website external-icon.png.

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Finding employees

The Australian Government has a free Harvest Trail job website external-icon.png that connects job seekers with employers working the Harvest Trail.

Call the National Harvest Labour Information Service on 1800 062 332 to help recruit job seekers through your local employment services provider external-icon.png.

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Job ads

Job advertisements (ads) can't include pay rates that breach:

  • the Fair Work Act, or
  • a fair work instrument (such as an award or enterprise agreement).

For more information visit Job ads.

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Employing young workers

The age young people can start work depends on the state or territory that they work in.

The minimum working age applies to all workers, including those starting an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Check the minimum working age with the relevant state or territory authority:

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