Dr Elsa Underhill





Faculty of Business and Law


BL Deakin Business School


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Research interests

  • Occupational health and safety and temporary agency workers
  • Labour market change
  • Human Resource Management
  • Industrial Relations Policy and Strategies
  • Strategies for improving the safe placement of agency workers
  • Interrelationships between human resource management policies and practices and OHS outcomes


  • Association Of Industrial Relations Academics Of Australia & New Zealand (Former President)
  • Industrial Relations Society of Victoria (Former Vice-President, Advocacy & Dispute Resolution)
  • International Industrial Relations Association
  • Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants
  • Associate, Business Outsourcing and Restructuring Regulatory Research Network

Teaching interests

  • Human Resource Management
  • Workplace Counselling and Negotiation

Units taught

MMH250 Workplace Counselling and Negotiation

MPM722 Human Resource Management

MPR722 Human Resource Management Residential

Knowledge areas

Precarious employment and workplace health and safety

Temporary migrant workers

Worker representation in the construction industry

Regulating labour hire employment (temporary employment agencies)

Research groups

Worker representation in OHS in the Construction Industry, with Profs. Michael Quinlan (UNSW), David Walters (Cardiff) and Dr. Emma Wadsworth (Cardiff)

The Harvest Trail: A study of employment and OHS amongst international backpackers in the Australian harvesting sector, with Emer. Prof. Malcolm Rimmer (La Trobe).


  • 2009 Faculty Exemplar of Teaching Excellence Award, for Unfair Dismissal Workshop conducted in MPR722.
  • 2005 Vice Chancellor's award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching and Learning (team award for residential teaching).
  • Recognised expert in OHS and labour hire employment, including expert opinions in court cases
  • Widely cited in Reports of State and National government enquiries involving OHS, and changing labour markets
  • Organised the Industrial Relations Society of Victoria/Australian Industrial Relations Commission Advocacy Training Programs (until 2008)
  • Organised the International Symposium on Regulating Precarious Employment in 2011, sponsored by Safe Work Australia
  • Recipient of two Deakin University Teaching Awards for residential program teaching


Worker Representation in OHS in the Australian Construction Industry, with Profs. Michael Quinlan (UNSW), David Walters (Cardiff) and Dr. Emma Wadsworth (Cardiff).  Research grant from the CFMEU

The Harvest Trail: Employment and OHS amongst international backpackers in the Australian harvesting sector, with Emer. Prof. Malcolm Rimmer (La Trobe).

Employment status and employee well-being, with Drs. Melissa Parris, Kerrie Saville & Justine Ferrer.

Licensing of temporary agency employers (labour hire employers): a review of international standards and their relevance to Australia.


Filter by


Organising across borders: mobilising temporary migrant labour in Australian food production

E Underhill, D Groutsis, D van den Broek, M Rimmer

(2019), pp. 1-26, Journal of industrial relations, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Using social media to improve temporary migrant workers' access to information about their employment rights

E Underhill, S Huang, S Yi, M Rimmer

(2019), pp. 147-174, Journal of Australian political economy, Sydney, N.S.W., C1

journal article

Migration Intermediaries and Codes of Conduct: Temporary Migrant Workers in Australian Horticulture

E Underhill, D Groutsis, D van Den Broek, M Rimmer

(2018), Vol. 153, pp. 675-689, Journal of Business Ethics, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Private governance, state regulation and employment standards: how political factors shape their nexus in Australian horticulture

E Underhill, M Rimmer

(2017), Vol. 72, pp. 33-55, Relations Industrielles, Quebec, Canada, C1

journal article

Layered vulnerability: Temporary migrants in Australian horticulture

E Underhill, M Rimmer

(2016), Vol. 58, pp. 608-626, Journal of industrial relations, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Temporary migrant workers in Australian horticulture: boosting supply but at what price?

E Underhill, M Rimmer

(2015), pp. 143-168, How global migration changes the workforce diversity equation, Newcastle, Eng., B1

book chapter

Itinerant foreign harvest workers in Australia: the impact of precarious employment on occupational safety and health

E Underhill, M Rimmer

(2015), Vol. 13, pp. 25-46, Policy and practice in health and safety, Leicester, Eng., C1

journal article

The challenge to workplace health and safety and the changing nature of work and the workplace environment

E Underhill

(2013), pp. 191-208, Australian workplace relations, New York, NY, B1

book chapter

A review of licensing arrangements for labour hire firms

E Underhill

(2013), Melbourne, Vic., A6-1

research report/technical paper

Managing work health and safety: Recent developments and future directions

C Gallagher, E Underhill

(2012), Vol. 50, pp. 227-244, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, C1

journal article

How precarious employment affects health and safety at work: The case of temporary agency workers

E Underhill, M Quinlan

(2011), Vol. 66, pp. 397-421, Relations Industrielles, C1

journal article

Precarious work: recent research and policy challenges

Elsa Underhill, Katherine Lippel, Michael Quinlan


journal article

Beyond statutory enforcement - alternative approaches to improving OSH in the temporary agency sector

Elsa Underhill, Michael Quinlan

(2011), Vol. 9, pp. 109-131, POLICY AND PRACTICE IN HEALTH AND SAFETY, C1

journal article

Should host employers have greater responsibility for temporary agency workers' employment rights?

E Underhill

(2010), Vol. 48, pp. 338-355, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, C1

journal article

State protection for temporary agency workers: Australian developments

E Underhill, M Rimmer

(2009), pp. 173-192, Modernization of labour law and industrial relations in a comparative perspective, Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands, B1

book chapter

Industry differences in the neoliberal transformation of Australian industrial relations

Mark Bray, Elsa Underhill

(2009), Vol. 40, pp. 272-292, INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS JOURNAL, C1

journal article

Temporary agency workers and the contribution of workplace unfamiliarity to workplace injuries

E Underhill

(2007), pp. 1-11, AIRAANZ 2007 : diverging employment relations patterns in Australia and New Zealand, conference proceedings, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, E1


The role of employment agencies in structuring and regulating labour markets

E Underhill

(2006), pp. 282-304, Labour law and labour market regulation: essays on the construction, constitution and regulation of labour markets and work relationships, Annandale, N.S.W., B1

book chapter

Labour hire employment and independent contracting in Australia: two inquiries, how much change?

E Underhill

(2006), Vol. 19, pp. 1-9, Australian journal of labour law, Sydney, N.S.W., C1

journal article

We only supply fully fit workers to suit our clients' need - Injured labour hire workers and their return to work experience

E Underhill

(2006), pp. 533-542, AIRAANZ 2006 : 21st century work : high road or low road : proceedings of the 20th Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand, Adelaide, South Australia, E1


Winners or losers? Work/Life Balance and Temporary Agency Workers

Elsa Underhill


journal article

The importance of having a say: labour hire employees workplace voice

E Underhill

(2005), AIRAANZ 05 : Reworking work : proceedings of the 19th conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand, Sydney, N.S.W., E1


Working under labour hire arrangements: the experience and views of Victorian labour hire employees

E Underhill

(2004), [Melbourne, Vic], A6

research report/technical paper

Changing work and OHS: the challenge of labour hire employment

E Underhill

(2004), pp. 544-551, AIRAANZ 2004 : New economies : new industrial relations : proceedings of the 18th AIRAANZ Conference, Noosa, Queensland, E1



Elsa Underhill

(2003), Building Chaos, B1

book chapter

The Australian construction industry: union control in a disorganised industry

E Underhill

(2003), pp. 114-137, Building chaos an international comparison of deregulation in the construction industry, London, England, B1-1

book chapter

Workplace 'bargaining' and the wages/working time nexus: counting the cost of decentralisation

E Underhill, S Bertone, J Doughney

(2003), pp. 141-157, Developments in enterprise bargaining in Australia, Croydon, Vic., B1-1

book chapter

Portable Sick Leave in the Victorian Building Industry: Managing Cumulative Employee Benefits in the Absence of Employment Security

Elsa Underhill, David Worland

(2003), Vol. 41, pp. 260-278, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, C1-1

journal article

Occupational safety and health management systems in Australia: barriers to success

Clare Gallagher, Elsa Underhill, Malcolm Rimmer

(2003), Vol. 1, pp. 67-81, Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, C1

journal article

The Victorian labour hire maintenance workers' strike of 1997

E Underhill

(1999), Vol. 10, pp. 73-91, Economic and labour relations review, London, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Eliminating traditional employment: troubleshooters available in the building and meat industries

E Underhill, D Kelly

(1993), Vol. 35, pp. 398-423, Journal of industrial relations, London, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

For the provision of research into strategies for improving workplace health and safety for labour placement industry workers in Queensland

Dr Elsa Underhill

  • 2010: $41,481

Information seeking behaviours of temporary visa workers

Dr Elsa Underhill

  • 2018: $26,756
  • 2017: $14,407


No completed student supervisions to report