Using labour hire


Supply chains in the horticulture industry can have many layers. Make sure you know who you’re hiring and follow our tips to check they’re getting the right entitlements.

On this page:

Entitlements of labour hire workers

Labour hire workers must be paid the minimum entitlements from the award or agreement that is relevant to the work they are performing.

If labour hire workers are doing the same work at the same location as employees hired directly by the host employer, they must get the same award entitlements.

Protected pay rates for labour hire employees

Orders can be made by the Fair Work Commission that mean labour hire employees can’t be paid less than the pay rate they’d receive under the host employer’s enterprise agreement or other relevant workplace instrument. This is a ‘protected pay rate’.

For more information, visit our Protected pay rates for labour hire employees page.

Selecting labour hire providers

You can help minimise your risk when engaging contractors by following these tips:

Know the pay and conditions that apply

Make sure you know the award (or the registered agreement) and the minimum pay and conditions that apply to your workforce.

Ask questions

Ask potential contractors about their workplace practices and workers on site. It’s a good idea to ask questions and request information in writing, for example by email. Questions could include:

  • How do you hire your workers?
  • How much do you pay them?
  • Do you use written piecework agreements?
  • Do you issue pay slips?
  • Do you give employees a Fair Work Information Statement?

You can also talk to workers about their pay and living conditions.

Be wary of contractors who charge workers job finding fees or placement bonds, who offer crowded, overpriced accommodation, or who try to restrict where workers can stay or how they get to and from the worksite.

Understand your supply chain

Find out about sub-contracting arrangements and be careful of any that don’t look right. It’s your responsibility to know where your money is going.

Trust your instinct

Make sure the contract price is enough to cover wages and entitlements.

Check the license

In some cases labour hire businesses need to be licensed.

Some states and territories have laws requiring labour hire businesses to be licensed, and for users of labour hire to only use licensed labour hire providers. These laws are managed by the relevant states and territories.

To find out about using labour hire or applying for a licence, contact:

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