There are important legislative changes on the horizon that will potentially have a significant impact for labour hire companies and organisations that use labour hire companies or temporary workers.

The Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill is one step closer to becoming law after passing its second reading in Parliament earlier this month.

The Bill proposes to extend protection for employees in “triangular” employment relationships. Triangular employment involves a person being employed by one employer, but working under the control and direction of another business or organisation. This would capture situations where an employer seconds an employee to another organisation, as well as labour hire companies where employees are contracted out to clients.

The Bill, as first introduced, proposed to make two key changes. First, to give employees the right to coverage of a collective agreement at the controlling third party where they carried out their day to day work. Second, to provide a framework for employees to raise a personal grievance with their employer and for the controlling third party to be joined to the proceedings.

The Select Committee has recommended that the Bill be passed, but suggests that the proposal to provide access to a collective agreement at a controlling third party is removed. This means it is possible that the Bill, in its final form, will only affect the personal grievance framework.

The Bill is now before the Committee of the Whole House, where it will be debated and examined in more detail. Once the final form of the bill is agreed, it will then progress to a third and final reading in Parliament.

The select committee has recommended that the Bill come into force on a date appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council, or 12 months after the date of Royal assent, whichever is earlier.