Rehab no longer asks for ABN
SHALOM House says it no longer requires residents entering its drug rehabilitation centre to set themselves up as self-employed contractors when they join the program.
Residents are required to work five days a week for the duration of their stay at the Swan Valley rehab centre, initially as volunteers and then in paid employment. Residents registered for an ABN as individual contractors, rather than employees, on the books of the Shalom Works landscaping and construction business and Shalom Labour Works.
But Shalom House has confirmed the residents, mostly on Centrelink benefits when they joined, were now treated as employees by the two businesses.
Shalom board member Stephen Wilkinson, an accountant, declined to comment on whether the decision to change the system was due to a crackdown on contracting by the Australian Tax Office and Fair Work Ombudsman.
“From my records, the residents began to be employed by Labour Works in the quarter ended September 2017,” he said. “Guys working for Shalom Works/Labour Works on permanent wages receive super and leave, and guys working on a casual basis receive super but no leave and a higher hourly rate.”
Shalom House founder Peter Lyndon-James, who is campaigning for a WA Senate seat as an independent on the platform of honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability, declined to explain the change. However, he said Shalom Labour Works made residents more attractive and employable to businesses by reducing the administration workload involved in hiring them.
“The reason we decided to have the residents working through labour hire is to make sure they are fully insured, that all the benefits they are entitled to receive, they do receive, including workers comp’ and superannuation,” he said.
“Our labour hire rate is $22.50, as per the Government’s minimum wage.
“One hundred per cent of that income goes to the individual plus (an additional) 30 per cent, which covers the cost of the administration of Shalom Labour Works, distributing pays, placing residents, finding employers, as well as residents’ superannuation and insurances.”
UnionsWA assistant secretary Owen Whittle said arrangements involving complex corporate structures that required contract work using an ABN risked being exploitative.
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