Sham Contracting Under FWO Microscope

Updated 22/04/2016

The Fair Work Ombudsman FWO has begun an inquiry into the Government's main Business Department for possible breach of the Fair Work Act's sham contracting laws following a request from CPSU.

The core of our complaint relates to the wholesale use by this Department of labour hire staff to fill VPS positions that have been made redundant.

DSDBI cite the freeze as the reason why VPS ongoing staff can’t be appointed to vacancies.

This practice was exacerbated when DSDBI issued an instruction to staff, both labour hire and ongoing VPS, that the use of labour hire contracts would be wound back.

DSDBI advised that anyone wishing to retain their employment would need to register for a personal ABN and contract their services directly to the Department.

FWO have advised that after a preliminary meeting with representatives of the Department which proved to be somewhat fruitless, they would now be formerly seeking the information they had sought at that meeting.

CPSU asked FWO to look into this practice as members felt that the arrangement was constructed to avoid the Department’s legal obligations towards staff by not employing them pursuant to our VPS Workplace Determination.

At our request FWO have agreed to set up a confidential process for any staff member from the Department who may wish to come forward to provide information about this practice and its impact.

Dates for the confidential sessions are being arranged .

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