MBIE is in the process of reviewing workplace conditions for contractors. MBIE sought feedback from contractors in February this year.
While employees are entitled to be paid minimum wage, receive leave entitlements and are able to take a personal grievance against their employer, independent contractors have no such protections. As the Gig economy becomes more prevalent, the line between contractors and employees is becoming increasingly blurred. Many contractors do the same work as employees – often working alongside them without any of the rights or benefits afforded to their colleagues.
A discussion document was released in November 2019 (Better Protections for Contractors). The discussion document followed the announcement of a new employment model for screen workers in June 2019. That model is to take effect mid-2020.
The concern is that some contractors, particularly dependent contractors, are vulnerable in the workplace. Some contractors find themselves dependent on one employer for all their income, with no flexibility or power to negotiate better conditions.
A number of countries are taking steps to ensure the benefits of innovation and growth do not come at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions. The Labour Government has voiced a similar commitment.
The CTU welcomes the discussion document and believes any change should ensure working people who are employees are not incorrectly engaged as contractors and that genuine contractors have the ability to collectively bargain through Unions and include contractors in coverage of fair pay agreements.
Contractors are common in the cleaning, fast-food, transport and IT industries. CTU believes that people working as contractors are often extremely vulnerable.
Want to know more?
If you have any questions about Contractors’ rights, please contact our specialist Employment Team.
This article along with many others were included in the June edition of our Employment Newsletter.