New Zealand Law Society - ERA finds taxi drivers were employees and not contractors

ERA finds taxi drivers were employees and not contractors

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An Employment Relations Authority determination has found that a former taxi company breached the employment rights of four former drivers by treating them as independent contractors.

In Labour Inspector v Southern Taxis Ltd [2018] NZERA Christchurch 104, the ERA found that Southern Taxis, which has ceased trading but remains in the hands of its directors, was in clear breach of minimum employment rights.

It has determined that the drivers are entitled to minimum wages for all hours worked and also holiday pay. These were calculated by the Labour Inspector as totalling $97,735.05. It has also awarded interest on the amounts payable (to be calculated).

The ERA says it will also now assess whether Southern Taxis is liable for penalties and costs for contravention of various statutes, including whether the directors Maureen Grant and Ronald Grant should be personally liable. Southern Taxis has advised that it is no longer trading and would not be able to meet any orders for arrears and/or penalties.

The ERA found that application of the accepted tests for determining whether a contract of service or a contract for services existed, showed on the balance of probabilities that the drivers were in fact and law employees of Southern Taxis.

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