The Contractor Bill

19 Aug 2016

 79620006

This is an extraordinary piece of legislation. From what I can understand it is trying to mandate by law that all contractors receive the equivalent of the minimum wage.

Not that their workers receive the minimum wage, but that the actual contractor receives the minimum wage.  Workers / employees are protected by law and every employment agreement must provide that the minimum wage is paid, and every worker must have an employment agreement.

There is a world of difference between an employment agreement and a contractor’s contract. This difference needs to be explained to the law makers, our politicians; that a contract is a voluntary agreement and it can be for any purpose that is legal, over any timeframe and may or may not involve payment.  It is a deal done and in all cases is not an employment relationship where there is an employer and an employee, and often the contract will provide a lump sum payment for the work to be done.  Contractors can also work for many different organisations and people can contract with them in different ways; many contractors do not spend distinct time working for each client, say, from 9 to 5 each day. They work for a variety of clients throughout the day – so how are they going to work out whether each client is paying the minimum wage?

Sure, some contracts are done on an hourly rate.  There are laws that cover this and that can deem the contract an employment relationship if it has crossed the legal line; then the minimum wage provisions apply.  So the protection the Bill is trying to achieve is, essentially, already in place.

If this Bill becomes law it will cause massive problems in an area that requires no change.