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Recruitment Legislation and Acts to Know

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Recruitment legislation is complex and ever-involving. Our employment market is inundated with a mash-up of complex laws and employment awards across a myriad of acts.

It certainly comes as no surprise that many employers are facing immense pressure when dissecting and interpreting legislation. Given the potentially serious penalties of a breach effective recruiters need to keep abreast of the latest changes. Not sure where to begin?

Here are the five recruitment legislation acts that all recruitment professionals should know:

1) Fair Work Australia Ombudsman

Mostly governed by the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA) and the Fair Work Regulations 2009, the Fair Work Ombudsman promotes a healthy workplace for employees, contractors, and employers alike, by providing information and advice of work rights and obligations.

On the whole, these Acts are substantial and legally complex; making it difficult for everyday employers to interpret. Failure to comply with the Fair Work Act can result in formidable damage to your business, such as in the 2016 case of a Sydney business.

2) Privacy Act

The Privacy Act 1988 is a law which oversees the regulation and handling of private and personal information about individuals – most commonly, individuals’ names, signatures, addresses, contact numbers, dates of birth, medical records, bank account details, and commentary or opinion about a person.

The Privacy Act is a difficult legislation to monitor, given that it delves further in thirteen Australian Privacy Principles or APPs and apply to APP entities (Australian and Norfolk Island Government Agencies).

Breaches in privacy are covered under the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme, which is available for us by APP entities as well as individuals; when the breach is assumed to cause serious harm to those affected.

Currently, breaches under the Privacy Act can incur a maximum fine of AUD 420,000.

3) Workplace Health, Safety Standards, and the Workplace Health and Safety Act

The establishment of national policies, focused on improving work H&S and workers’ compensation across Australia, is led by Safe Work Australia.

Businesses and employers are required, and have a legal responsibility, to implement and enforce H&S practices accordingly; covering all employees, contractors and even volunteers or visitors.

While WHS may be seen as a nuisance and an expensive practice by some, the price of failing to comply with the legislation is even more costly, and may include prosecution.

In Queensland alone, there are four categories of offences.

4) STP – Single Touch Payroll

In July 2018, the ATO implemented a change in reporting methods, requiring businesses with a minimum of 20 employees to report to the Commissioner on or before each pay day using Single Touch Payroll.

Detailed information on tax and superannuation, payment of salary, wages, allowances, deductions and such will now need to be provided directly from each business’ payroll provider.

The new STP scheme is a critical move to identifying superannuation non-compliance, and will allow the Tax Office to implement penalties on employers who do not comply with their superannuation obligations.

5) Labour Hire Licensing

With the commencement of the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017, pioneered in Queensland; labour hire licensing is now mandatory. Full roll outs in a number of states occurred earlier this year, including South Australia from August 2019 and Victoria in October 2019.

Once considered an unregulated industry, the Act seeks to protect labour hire workers from exploitation; with any business, which uses or provides labour hire, connected to Queensland be bound to compliance

How to Make Sense of it All

The complexity of  recruitment legislation has caused immense pressure on business owners and is set to cause a shift right across Australia over the next two years.

Having robust business processes is critical to the survival of your business; and with the success of your business at stake, it is important you have regular and sound advice available to you.

It is no longer just about commercial savviness. Agility and understanding market verticals is critical at this point; and using the right tools – including Artificial Intelligence – in your business will ensure sustainability and ongoing success.

Talk to Ratescalc.com™ and learn more about how we can help.


recruitment legislation acts

About Col: Col Levander FRCSA has over 30 years’ experience in the services, recruitment and on-hire industry and in technology. Col started his recruitment career at an entry level consulting role and progressed to Branch, State, Regional and National roles in Operations and Sales working for small niche businesses, National companies and Global organisations. Col has also started, built and grown four recruitment agencies over this time. In 2010, Col turned his hands on experience in recruitment to his passion with technology where he identified value in providing an informed technology conversation with real life “Best Practice” experience in the recruitment market sector. Col continues to innovate and the launch of Ratescalc.com is a new beginning in a myriad of software solutions his company Rec Tech solutions will be bringing to market in years to come.


For information on more legislation that may affect your agency, check out The New Data Privacy Law Your Recruitment Agency Can’t Risk Breaching