– the new frontier in employment rights?
WHAT’S GOING ON? MBIE has released a consultation document relating to the rights of workers who are independent contractors. It includes 11 options for rebalancing the power between companies and their independent contractors.
WHY SHOULD I CARE? If some of these options are adopted it will represent a seismic shift in workers rights in New Zealand, extending employment rights and entitlements, to some independent contractors, and potentially creating a third “worker” category with specified rights different to both employees and independent contractors.
WHAT SHOULD I DO? If you use independent contractors, are a contractor, or are interested in how employment law is developing in New Zealand, make a
WHEN DO I NEED TO DO IT? Submissions are due on 14 February 2020.
GIVE ME THE DETAIL
There are two groups of contractors MBIE is particularly interested in protecting:
- Employees who are mis-classified as independent contractors; and
- Workers in the ‘grey zone’ between being a contractor and an employee, who can be vulnerable to poor working conditions.
There are 11 options outlined, which MBIE is looking for feedback on:
- Increase proactive targeting by Labour Inspectors to detect noncompliance
- Give Labour Inspectors the ability to decide workers’ employment status
- Introduce penalties for misrepresenting an employment relationship as a contracting arrangement
- Introduce disclosure requirements for firms when hiring contractors
- Reduce costs for workers seeking employment status determinations
- Put the burden of proving a worker is a contractor on firms
- Extend the application of employment status determinations to workers in fundamentally similar circumstances
- Define some occupations of workers as employees
- Change the tests used by courts to determine employment status to include vulnerable contractors
- Extend the right to bargain collectively to some contractors
- Create a new category of workers with some employment rights and protections
NEED HELP? Contact the team at Dundas Street Employment Lawyers. If this could be critical to you or your business, it is worth making a submission, and we can help you with that process.