Classifying Workers in New Zealand Research Paper by Metro

Classifying Workers in New Zealand
A brief examination of New Zealand's case law on the classification of workers as employees or independent contractors.
# 153933 | 0 words | 0 sources | 2013 | NZ
Published on Jun 24, 2014 in Law (Labor)

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From the Paper:

"There is little doubt that today's economic environment features a constant struggle for businesses and employers to lower costs and increase profits, however to allow such we must ensure that shortcomings in relation to ordinary employees are not occurring in order to meet these demands. Bevan and Small confirm this situation, and state that as a result one protection is to ensure that "employment arrangements and agreements... bear a more than passing... resemblance to reality." One area of employment law where issues arise over employment arrangements not reflecting the reality of work is where an employer, as a means to seemingly cut costs and create protections for themselves in relation to employees, has classified an employee as an 'independent contractors' in order to deprive them of their full rights as an 'employee' under the Employment Relations Act 2000.
Through an examination of the current approach taken by courts in classifying workers, it will become clear that courts support the suggestions put forwards by Bevan and Small, and are more focused on a seemingly 'equity based' approach of what the reality of the situation is, rather than allowing agreements to strictly control the situation. As such it is clear that despite New Zealand's current economic struggles and demands, the rights of employees are not being made to suffer.
"2. Section 6, Employment Relations Act 2000
When dealing with issues of classifying workers we must first look to s 6 of the Employment Relations Act, which defines the meaning of 'employee'. When there is a need to decide whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor, s 6(2) states that "the Court or Authority... must determine the real nature of the relationship between" the employer and worker. In determining such, s 6(3)(a) says to "consider all relevant matters, including any matters that indicate the intention of the persons", however s 6(3)(b) holds that statements of intention are not to be held as determinative. This is a clear indication that Parliament intends for investigations to be based on reality, and not simply on statements and the words of employment agreements as to what a worker is classified as. The courts have confirmed this approach is appropriate, as we will now see."

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