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Rural mail drivers' petition unnecessary

Hon Margaret Wilson
Minister of Labour


Media statement


22 May 2000


Rural mail drivers' petition unnecessary

"A nationwide petition organised by rural mail contractors to change the Employment Relations Bill is unnecessary," says Labour Minister Margaret Wilson.

"The contractors' claim that the Bill forces them to become employees is incorrect.


"As I have repeated publicly a number of 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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