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Courier Drivers Who Think They May Be Misclassified As Contractors Encouraged To Come Forward

The Labour Inspectorate is undertaking a national campaign focusing on the employment status of courier drivers after concerns were raised about courier drivers being misclassified as contractors and missing out on employment rights.

Last year, the Employment Court ruled that a courier driver at Parcel Express who was considered a contractor of the company, was in fact its employee. Since then the media has reported drivers in other courier groups feel that they have been misclassified as contractors, too.

“We’re asking any courier drivers with concerns about their employment status to come forward. Any information we receive will help us evaluate the size of the issue and determine if any further action is necessary,” says Labour Inspectorate Manager Central, Callum McMillan

“While the majority of businesses in New Zealand meet their obligations, some workers are misclassified as contractors even though they are, in substance, employees. For example, they may be expected to arrive at work at certain times, work under close supervision, or be prevented from working for other employers.”

“Misclassified workers miss out on basic employment rights and protections such as payment of at least the minimum wage, paid annual and public holidays, paid sick and bereavement leave, and the right to a proper process if they are fired or made redundant.

“Businesses may mistakenly misclassify employees as contractors because they see that is what others in the industry do, while some may do this deliberately to avoid their responsibility to provide employee entitlements.

“Some courier drivers are genuine contractors, while others more closely fit the legal definition of an employee. There isn’t a fixed rule that courier drivers should exclusively be employees or contractors. Employment status depends on each individual’s situation,” Mr McMillan says.

If you are a courier driver with concerns about your employment classification, or about your minimum employment entitlements (employment agreement, minimum wage, and/or entitlement to holidays and leave):

· Please visit our website

The Labour Inspectorate also encourages any employers that wish to discuss misclassification concerns, to contact us through our website.

Any information received will be handled in a safe environment.

You can find out more about the differences between contractors and employees on the Employment New Zealand website.

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