New Zealand Law Society - Difficulties with Minimum Wage for Contractors Bill

Difficulties with Minimum Wage for Contractors Bill

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

A bill intended to protect contract workers by requiring them to be paid at least the minimum hourly wage may inhibit contracting flexibility and not achieve its purpose, the New Zealand Law Society says.

The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill requires a principal party who engages a contractor in one of the specified service industries to keep a record of time taken to provide particular services, if the contract doesn't specify a time for completion.

"But the nature of contracting makes this difficult" says Michael Quigg, Convenor of the Law Society's Employment Law Committee, "so the bill may mean fewer types of contracts are used, reducing flexibility".

Further, people who can't or won't complete the job in the specified time will be precluded from entering into such contracts.

"Alternatively, contractors may simply accept the terms of engagement, but work longer than the specified hours, effectively losing the benefit of the Bill's stated purpose," Mr Quigg says.

In its submission the Law Society also notes the bill allows multiple pathways to bring a claim for recovery and submits that claimants should have to elect which recovery path they choose.