Better Protection for Contractors

Consultation on Proposals for Better Protection for Contractors (“dependent/vulnerable contractors”) and Discussion of the likely implications arising from a Fair Pay Agreements System.


Last November MBIE released a discussion paper – “Better protections for contractors” -  which set out issues and a range of options proceeding from the belief that 1) employees are misclassified as independent contractors and miss out on minimum rights and entitlements, and 2) workers in the ‘grey zone’ between employee and contractor status can be vulnerable to poor working conditions.


This work has connections with that being progressed in other areas notably the protection of migrant workers and developing a system for Fair Pay Agreements.


It is important that employers presently utilising contractors – particularly sole or dependent contractors – and contractors themselves, consider the potential implications arising from the proposals for change.  Similar initiatives in overseas jurisdiction have resulted, for example, in groups such as freelance press photographers becoming legally classified as employees of their clients.  (This group has initiated a lawsuit against the California Assembly Bill saying that the amendments unfairly restrict people like freelance photojournalists who desire the freedom and copyright benefits associated with being an independent contractor).

MBIE seeks feedback on the matters raised in the paper and representatives will discuss the options it puts forward for consideration.


In 2018, worker and employer representatives together with experts in collective bargaining and law were asked by the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety to design a Fair Pay Agreements system.


A Fair Pay Agreement would be a set of occupation and sector-specific minimum employment standards, such as wages, redundancy, or overtime. These would be agreed through bargaining between affected workers and employers and would then become legally binding on all employers operating in that sector.


The working group delivered their recommendations to the Minister in December 2018. They noted that their design included risks, areas of disagreement and questions for further consideration. MBIE then developed a range of options and put out a paper - “Designing a Fair Pay Agreements System” - for public consultation based on the group’s recommendations.  Submissions closed on 27 November.  


Paul Mackay, Business NZ’s, Manager – Employment Relations Policy, will discuss the possible direction and implications for FPA’s and related matters.

Please note: This is a member only event and free to attend

Brought to you in collaboration with

31/01/2020 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
The Chamber 57 Kilmore Street CHRISTCHURCH 8013 NEW ZEALAND

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