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Protections for all contractors needed

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have released a discussion document entitled ‘ Better protections for contractors’. “Working people are pleased that the Government is taking active steps to address how independent contractors are protected,” said CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges.

“We encourage anyone who has worked, is currently working as a contractor, or who has a close personal connection to someone working as a contractor, to share their experiences with the decision makers. We know that people working as contractors are often extremely vulnerable to the whim of their employer. All working people need to have some stability, some certainty to plan their lives.”

“Right now, there are a lot of people who are working as contractors who should be treated as employees with all the rights and benefits that brings. There are also some people who genuinely are independent contractors who should have a way to improve their working conditions.”

“The Government is making progress on the development of Fair Pay Agreements and we see that there is a critical place for contractors within the FPA framework.”

“Contractors must not be treated as the poor cousin of employees. Contract work will continue to exist and it will be a feature in the future of work.”

“Today we are Launching online tool for people to tell the Government what they think about the treatment of contractors. Have your say –” said Ansell-Bridges.

What is a contractor?

Contractors often do the same work as employees – sometimes contractors and employees work alongside each other. But contractors can be paid less, fired more easily and don’t receive holidays, sick leave or KiwiSaver contributions.

This kind of “dependent” contracting is happening to cleaners, security guards, food workers, couriers, drivers, IT workers and many others.

Contractors can have their contract cancelled with little or no notice (unlike employees) they find it harder to ask for better conditions.