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English shows his colleagues are Chicken Littles

Mr English shows up his colleagues as Chicken Littles

"Opposition finance spokesperson Bill English is to be commended for publicly acknowledging that the sky will not fall on employers when the Employment Relations Bill becomes law," says Labour Minister Margaret Wilson.

Mr English's comments were reported in the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

"Mr English's comments are particularly timely in relation to the misinformed pessimism being generated by his colleagues over the future status of contractors.

"As I have repeated in the House several times, no self-employed person or contractor will be required to become an employee under the proposals in the Bill.

"Whether you are a sharemilker, an estate agent, an owner driver, a professional rugby player or anyone else – you will not be required to change your employment status unless you want to.

"What the Bill does do is provide an opportunity for a person to seek a change of employment status if they want to. The provision is designed to protect those workers who are neither receiving the benefits of being an employee in terms of holiday pay, sick leave and so on, nor the benefits of being an independent contractor and being able to choose how and for whom they work.

"Up until now the status of employee has been determined through case law, which has resulted in a great deal of uncertainty. The Bill simply draws on the case law to give a clear definition in the legislation. This will provide for consistency and certainty, as good law should.

"There is no intent to force anyone to change their employment status, whether individually or as a group through a third party. If the Select Committee finds that this intent is not clear to the public, I would be happy to respond by making it so," says Ms Wilson.

ends

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