Submission: Better protections for contractors

Roger Partridge
14 February, 2020

Read our submission, written by Roger Partridge, to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), on Better protections for contractors: Discussion document for public feedback.

In this submission we draw upon the research and recommendations from our July 2019 report, Work in Progress: Why Fair Pay Agreements would be bad for labour.

In response to the issues raised in the Discussion Paper, we submit that:

  1. Contrary to the claims made in the Discussion Paper, there is no evidence suggesting that changes to labour market regulation in the 1990s have resulted in structural problems in New Zealand's labour markets and led to increased inequality.
  2. The Discussion Paper does not make a compelling case that New Zealand's current regulatory approach to classifying workers as employees and contractors is problematic
  3. Creating a third category of "worker" to cover so-called "dependent contractor" as a half-way house between "employee" and "independent contractor" will cause confusion and uncertainty; may undermine the status of "employment", and may have unforeseen impacts on innovation and productivity growth
  4. While we have not researched the majority of the other options proposed in the Discussion Paper in detail, in section 5 of the submission we provide some comment on each of them. Provided there is credible evidence that the benefits exceed the costs, we support in principle options 1, 4 and 5. The other options we oppose for the reasons outlined in the submission. 
  5. We are concerned about MBIE's intended reliance on the proposed anonymous "short survey" linked to the Discussion Paper to inform MBIE's policy development process.


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