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Who needs a licence?

The Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (the Act) establishes a mandatory licensing scheme for all labour hire providers operating in Queensland. Users of labour hire services can only use a licensed labour hire provider.

Labour hire providers supply workers to work for another business or person (the labour hire user), the workers are paid by the labour hire pro vider for the work they do.

If you supply a worker or workers to work for another business or person, you should consider whether you are operating as a labour hire provider. If you are, you need to be licensed.

The following information will help you assess if you need to apply for a licence.

What is not a labour hire service?

Recruitment and permanent placement services, volunteering arrangements, workplace consultants and genuine subcontracting arrangements (e.g. those often used in the building and construction industry), are not considered to be labour hire providers and do not fall within the labour hire licensing scheme.

In addition, businesses that only supply workers described below do not require a licence. These workers are not considered to be labour hire workers for the purposes of the Act:

  • a high income employee who earns an annualised income of more than $148,700 per annum and is not covered by an industrial award or agreement. Annualised income means a rate (hourly, weekly, etc) which, when converted to an annual income, is more than the amount of the high income threshold.
  • an employee who is employed by an 'employing/service entity' within a business group and works only for and within that single recognisable business
  • an 'in-house employee' who temporarily works for another person or business. An 'in-house employee' is defined in the Labour Hire Licensing Regulation 2018. Examples of the supply of an 'in-house employee' to do work on a temporary basis:
  • a lawyer employed by a law firm is seconded for a period of time to a client of the law firm to do work for the client
  • a consultant employed by a consultancy business is supplied to a business to conduct a review for the other business
  • a person employed by a community care organisation on an ongoing basis and who usually works for the organisation in a variety of locations, including in another person's home.

When is a licence required?

The Act sets out what is meant by labour hire provider, labour hire services and labour hire worker.

The Act provides examples of labour hire providers including:

  • a contractor who supplies workers to a farmer or fruit grower to pick produce for the farmer or grower
  • a group training organisation or principal employer organisation under the Further Education and Training Act 2014 that supplies an apprentice or trainee to an employer
  • an employment agency who on-hires temporary administration staff to a business.

Industry examples

The following examples provide an overview of how the labour hire licensing scheme applies to different industries in Queensland:

Examples of labour hire services

The below examples are provided as general guidance and are for illustrative purposes only. If you are uncertain about whether the scheme applies to you, contact us for further information or seek legal advice.

Examples of labour hire services

Occupation or industry


Yes, a licence is required

No, a licence is not required


A hospital contacts a nursing temp agency to provide five extra nurses to work for two weeks. The temp agency supplies the nurses to work in the hospital. The temp agency pays the nurses’ wages and invoices the hospital.

The temp agency is considered to be a labour hire provider in this case.


Information technology (IT) help desk staff

A business contacts an IT recruitment service looking for extra IT help desk workers to assist its existing help desk workforce while a new IT system is being deployed. The IT recruitment service supplies the business with the additional workers. The IT recruitment service pays those workers and invoices the business.

The IT recruitment agency is considered to be a labour hire provider in this case.


Building and construction industry

A building company is developing a block of apartments and subcontracts the electrical work to another business. The electrical subcontractor is responsible for fulfilling the contractual obligations which includes supplying its workers to the site and for the rectification of any defects in the work done.


This appears to be a genuine subcontracting arrangement and is therefore not considered to be labour hire.

 An unlicensed or licensed subcontractor contracts to a licensed trade contractor to provide workers on an hourly rate basis to perform work forthe trade contractor’s business. The subcontractor does not provide materials, is not responsible for rectifying defects, and is not engaged to meet other contractual obligations. The subcontractor is simply providing labour only services to carry out work as directed by the trade contractor. 

The subcontractor providing the workers is considered to be providing labour hire services in this case.


 An unlicensed or licensed subcontractor contracts to a licensed trade contractor or builder on an hourly rate basis to produce an outcome (e.g. frame the house, install windows and doors, install a roof, place and finish a concrete slab). The subcontractor does not provide materials but is responsible for rectifying contractual obligations and rectifying defects. The trade contractor or the builder purchases the materials. The arrangement is no different to a typical subcontractor/contractor arrangement except the subcontractor does not provide the materials to do the work.


This appears to be a genuine subcontracting arrangement and is therefore not considered to be labour hire.

Security workers

An event requires crowd controllers for a Saturday night function. A security company supplies the crowd controllers and invoices the event for the supply of these workers.

The security company is considered to be a labour hire provider in this case.


Community care

A community care organisation employs nurses, allied health professionals and counsellors. These workers are employed on a regular and systematic basis with the community care organisation and have an ongoing expectation of employment. Due to the nature of their employers business, they perform the work of their employer in multiple locations including hospitals, aged care facilities and private residences.


The community care organisation is not considered to be a labour hire service in this case.

Employing entity – 1 recognisable business

The Good Doctors medical group operates medical centres (known as ‘Good Doctors’) throughout Queensland. The Good Doctors medical group uses an employing/service entity company within its corporate group to employ and pay the Good Doctors workers (doctors, nurses and reception staff). These workers only work for Good Doctors medical centres under the one recognisable Good Doctors business umbrella.


The workers employed by the Good Doctors employing/service entity company within the Good Doctors corporate group are not considered to be labour hire workers in this case.

Not main business but sometimes provides labour hire

Tom runs a video production business which provides complete video production services to clients. This is not a labour hire business. However, some of Tom’s clients contact him when they need video production workers and ask if he can arrange staff. Tom knows of suitable workers so supplies them and invoices the client. Tom then pays those workers. The workers supplied are not Tom’s employees; he engages them to be supplied as required.

Tom is considered to be providing a labour hire service in this case.


Photocopier technician

A photocopier company sells, leases and maintains photocopying equipment. The business employs its technicians who go out to repair or maintain office equipment that has been sold or is leased out by the company. The technicians are not hired out to these other businesses; the technicians work in the conduct of their employer’s business, however do their work mostly in other business’ premises.


The photocopier technician is not considered to be a labour hire worker and the company is not considered to be a labour hire provider in this case.

Machinery operator

An earth moving company hires out its bobcat and operator. The company is engaged by a homeowner to dig a drain and the company send the bobcat and its operator. The operator is employed on a regular and systematic basis by the company and goes with and operates the bobcat.


The worker is not considered to be a labour hire worker and the earthmoving company is not considered to be proving a labour hire service in this case.

High income employee

An IT specialist works for an IT firm and has an annual wage higher than the Fair Work Act 2009 high income threshold (which is currently $145,400 from 1 July 2018, subject to increases each year and not including superannuation). The IT specialist is not employed under any modern award or certified agreement. The IT specialist is supplied by the IT firm to another business to do IT work.


The IT specialist is a high income worker as defined by the Labour Hire Licensing Regulation 2018 and is not considered to be a labour hire worker. If the IT firm only supplies high income workers they do not require a licence.


A hotel needs additional cleaners to clean their hotel rooms, and contacts a cleaning business to organise the additional cleaners.

The cleaning company is considered to be a labour hire provider in this case.


Traffic Management A registered traffic management organisation, Redirect Pty Ltd (Redirect), is contracted by event organisers to provide traffic management, including making arrangements for the closure of a road. Redirect is responsible under the contract for obtaining the relevant permits, including submitting a traffic management plan, and having it approved by the relevant local council or by the Department of Transport and Main Roads. The permit is issued in Redirect’s name. When conducting the traffic management, Redirect is responsible for ensuring no traffic, other than event specific traffic, enters the area. Redirect supplies a team of qualified workers and a supervisor to attend the site with a company ute, and is equipped with safety lights and signage.   This appears to be an arrangement where the worker is working for the traffic management company Redirect in the performance of its obligations under a contract, rather than being supplied to work for a third party. This not considered to be labour hire.
  Traffic Management Inc holds a similar contract to the above example with Queensland Transport on a large road project. Traffic Management contacts Redirect Pty Ltd to provide staff to attend and assist in managing traffic, as it doesn’t have sufficient staff to meet requirements.  Redirect is a labour hire provider in these circumstances, and requires a licence. Traffic Management is a user of labour hire, and must ensure that Redirect has a licence.  
  A construction company requires assistance with traffic management around a construction site while the road is obstructed for a large delivery. The construction company has already obtained the relevant permits and is responsible for ensuring conditions on the permit are met. Redirect supplies two qualified workers to attend the site with signage. Redirect is considered to be a labour hire provider in this case, and requires a licence. The construction company is a user of labour hire, and must ensure that Redirect has a licence.  

A diesel fitter works in the mine on a rotating shift roster. He works as a contractor using his own ABN. He invoices the mine for his services and pays his own GST, etc.


The diesel fitter is not considered to be providing a labour hire service because he is an individual worker.


As above, except that the diesel fitter has incorporated a company. He is the only director of the company and the only person supplied to work.

Alternatively, a husband and wife are directors of the company and only the husband is supplied.


As the diesel fitter is an executive officer of the corporation and the only person supplied, no licence is required.


If you are still unsure whether a labour hire licence is required you may contact us for more information or you may seek your own legal advice.

How much does it cost?

Licence fees are calculated according to the total amount of wages or salaries paid to labour hire workers supplied in Queensland during the last financial year. To calculate total wages, you should use the definition of wages  for calculating WorkCover Queensland premiums. Licence fees must be paid at application, annual renewal and restoration.

Total amount of wages paid in the financial year preceding the day the application is made Tier Licence fee as at 1 September 2020
$1.5 million or less 1 $1,040
$1.5 million and up to $5 million 2 $3,120
Over $5 million 3 $5,200

For a business that did not operate in the financial year immediately preceding the day the application is made, the total amount is the amount the business is projected to pay in wages in the financial year in which the application is made and the following year.

The licence fees may increase annually in line with the Queensland Government Indexation Policy.

Please note: the above fees are subject to review and annual indexation in line with Queensland Government policy. 

Guide to applying for a licence

Applying online

  • To apply for a licence you will need to register to create an account and provide:
    • the applicants' or authorised delegates' contact details. For authorised delegates, a signed authorisation form must be retained by the business and produced if required by the Office of Industrial Relations
    • business details including ABN, entity name and trading name.
  • Once you have an account you can sign in to apply for or renew a licence.

What information will I need?

To complete an application for a licence you will need:

A partially completed application can be saved at any stage and submitted at a later time. If you need to amend your submitted application please contact us.

Where can I get help with my application?

Use the application checklist to ensure you have all the information required to complete your application.

If you have any questions about the application process please contact us.

How long does it take?

Once you have made your application and paid your licence fee it is anticipated a decision on your application will be made within 28 business days.

Recognition of other schemes

If you hold a labour hire providers licence from another state or territory, or have a similar accreditation through another scheme, you are still required to apply for a licence in Queensland. However, the licence or accreditation may be considered in the assessing your fitness and propriety, financial viability or compliance with relevant laws.

The application will allow you to identify if you have the following accreditations or licences:

  • South Australian Labour Hire Licence
  • Queensland Building and Construction Industry (QBCC) Licence – Category 1-7 (600,001 + revenue)
  • QAssure - Industry Accreditation for ICT Suppliers
  • iSafe Licence - Association of Professional Staffing Companies Australia (APSCo)
  • Cleaning Accountability Framework (CAF)
  • StaffSure Accreditation - Recruitment & Consultant Services Association (RCSA)
  • Legal Practitioner (Queensland Practicing Certificate)
  • Registered Training Organisation (RTO)

What to do if the information I provided in my application has changed?

If you hold a licence you must advise within 14 days if there have been changes to any of the following:

  • a change in name, business name or contact details
  • an applicant is convicted of an offence that affects the person's suitability to provide labour hire services (e.g. a finding of guilty to a serious criminal offence)
  • a licensee, nominated officer or executive officer:
    • has a change in their history of compliance with relevant laws (e.g. is issued an infringement notice)
    • is disqualified from managing corporations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
    • is made insolvent under section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
  • a licensee is placed into administration, receivership or liquidation under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
  • the licensee starts providing accommodation
  • the licensee starts supplying workers who hold visas.

Advice of the changes must be made online through your account.

Please contact us for more information or assistance.

Who is ineligible to apply?

A person or business cannot apply for a labour licence if they have had:

Last updated 02 September 2020