Rights of Independent Contractors 

You’ve been job hunting for a while, and finally you score a job – but you’re not being hired as an employee, you’re going to be working as an independent contractor.

What does this mean for you?

Employees are covered by the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA) and are legally entitled to annual leave, paid public holidays, sick leave and so on. On the other hand, as an independent contractor you will not covered by the ERA and aren’t entitled to paid leave (more about this here).

If you’re starting out as a contractor for the first time, you’ll need to know about things like paying your own taxes, keeping accounts of your work-related expenses and income and possibly also liability insurance and/or GST. 

You’ll also need to pay particular attention to what’s in your contract, because this document specifies what’s expected of you and what you can expect from the organisation you’ll be providing services to.

Because of the differences in how the law requires employees and contractors to be treated, it’s important that both parties are clear about the working relationship between you. If you are in dispute over whether you should be treated as an employee or a contractor, and it can’t be resolved through mediation, the Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court can determine your status.

They’ll examine how the relationship between you and the organisation you do work for operates day to day, and considers factors such as:
  • whether you are supervised
  • which party supplies the equipment used to do the work
  • whether you have control over your hours of work and where the work is done.
More information about all of these issues, and more, is on our Independent Contractors page.
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