New supply chain guides to help businesses avoid worker exploitation

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched new tools to help prevent the exploitation of workers in contracted labour supply chains.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said her agency developed the materials as it was still seeing too many cases where vulnerable workers were being ripped-off as complex contracting arrangements allowed dodgy operators to infiltrate labour supply chains.

“We have seen case after case of people such as cleaners, security guards, agriculture and horticulture workers and trolley collectors being forced to accept sub-standard rates of pay through long and complicated contracting arrangements while the beneficiaries of that labour who sit atop the contracting chain, normally a large business, have no oversight of the unlawful practices occurring in their networks,” James said.

“The community expects large reputable businesses to make sure the workers in their contracting chain are being paid appropriately, even when that business may not be the direct employer of the workers.

James said that the four new guides are intended to help other businesses monitor and manage their contract arrangements to help make sure every single worker in their contracting networks is being paid fairly and appropriately.

Accessible here, the new resources are:

  • Guide to labour contracting: for help on how to select a potential contractor and identify if they are complying with workplace laws
  • Guide to monitoring your labour contracting: for help on mapping existing contractors and subcontractors, examining compliance and addressing any problems
  • Guide to self-auditing your business: for information on how to conduct a general self-audit of your business to ensure you’re complying with workplace laws
  • Guide to monitoring your labour contracting for small business: checks for small business owners to minimise your risk of hiring a non-compliant contractor.

The four practical guides have been developed with the assistance of experts in the field of supply chain management and will help businesses monitor and manage their contract relationships.

Image: Fair Work Ombudsman

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