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Worker support

 

Alvea Lily from Vanuatu

 

The wellbeing of Pacific and Timorese workers is of central importance to the Australian Government and to its Pacific and Timor-Leste partners.

All Pacific and Timorese workers participating in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme have the same workplace rights and protections as Australian workers.

PALM scheme employers are responsible for ensuring workers are supported, and businesses must meet specific requirements in order to recruit staff. These include meeting the required accommodation standards, providing sufficient hours of work and other provisions aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of workers.

How are workers supported while they are in Australia?

The PALM scheme has built-in protections. This includes a requirement that PALM scheme employers have worker welfare embedded into their systems and practices to create positive, productive working environments.

The Australian Government also conducts check-ins with workers and employers to make sure employers are taking good care of their workers, and that all required conditions are being met.

Ongoing focus on welfare and wellbeing

Worker with spinach

Ongoing welfare and wellbeing support is provided to Pacific workers throughout their time in Australia.

Before workers from Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste come to Australia, they participate in pre-departure training that provides information about living and working in Australia and how to access support.

When they arrive in Australia, their employer provides an on-arrival briefing and helps support workers form connections with local community groups as they settle into their new homes. 

Information on a range of topics is provided to workers, including:

  • accommodation and appropriate living arrangements
  • personal finance, superannuation, insurance and banking services
  • tax returns
  • sending money home
  • essential items in Australia (SIM cards, phones, clothing, etc.)
  • getting an Australian driver’s licence
  • the role of the Fair Work Ombudsman
  • workplace rights and entitlements
  • health and medical contacts
  • education and training opportunities
  • contacts for any diaspora in the community where they will live and work.

Employers provide ongoing support and advice to their workers while they are here.

PALM scheme workers can call a 24-hour telephone hotline for help and advice whenever they need it. See below for details.

Community Connections

A 2-year partnership between the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and the Salvation Army is providing additional and strengthened welfare support to SWP workers under the PALM scheme. Community Connections creates better relationships between workers and their local communities and improved cultural understanding.

The Salvation Army can be contacted for more information at (communityconnections@salvationarmy.org.au).

Read more about the Community Connections partnership.

Support for longer-term workers

The Pacific Labour Facility (PLF) works with PLS employers under the PALM scheme to ensure they understand their responsibilities towards their workers and provide them with the resources they need to support the health and wellbeing of workers.

In addition, PLS workers receive the support of a dedicated team of PLF worker welfare professionals, including PLS case managers who conduct regular check-ins with workers and employers.

Contact information for PLS and SWP workers

PLS workers: Call (1800 51 51 31) or email (welfare@pacificlabourfacility.com.au).

SWP workers: Call (+61 2 6240 5234), during business hours, or (1800 51 51 31) after hours, or email (seasonalworker@dese.gov.au).

Useful links
Australian Tax Office: Withholding the right amount for seasonal workers
Australian Tax Office: SWP and PLS
SWP resources
Safe driving poster
Payroll deduction guidelines
Getting an Australian driver's licence
Health insurance
Lodging a tax return
General factsheets