The Coromandel Workers Council has been set up with the belief that everyone should have access to information about their rights as workers. With that in mind we want to help both employees and employers form strong and sustainable relationships that benefit everyone.

One of the questions that we seem to be getting a lot is “Am I a contractor or am I an employee?”. It’s important to note that there are some major differences between a contractor and an employee. Those differences, determined by the nature of the working relationship, affect the rights and obligations of the business and the worker.

There are a number of legal test developed by the courts which can help you determine if you are a contractor or an employee:


The intention test is relevant but does not determine the nature of the working relationship on its own.

Employees MUST have an employment agreement in writing

Contractors have a contract for services with a business

Employees MUST be paid holiday pay, where as a contractor does not

Employees are entitled to time and a half pay and a day in lieu for working a public holiday

Contractors are not unless otherwise agreed

Control versus Independence:

The greater the control exercised over a workers work content the more likely it is that they are an employee.

Employees have little to no control over the work to be done

Contractors have more discretion over how much time is spent at work

Employees usually work have set hours

Contractors generally have more control over their own availability and generally do not require supervision


Is the work being performed integral to the employer’s business? Usually work carried out by a contractor is only an accessory to the business. A person is likely to be considered an employee if the work is typically done by employees, is continuous ( i.e. not a one-off project) and is for the benefit of the business.

Employees will have all tools and equipment provided

Employees must be paid at least minimum wage. A contractor can be paid whatever rate is agreed to.

Employees have all of their tax and ACC obligations paid for by the employer

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 3% of their gross earnings paid into their Kiwisaver by their employer

Contractors may offer their services to multiple principals at the same time

Contractors carry financial risk and may give guarantees to cover breaches of their obligations

Contractors usually issue invoices setting out their fees or charges in order to get paid. Employees usually receive a payslip.

You may be asking “Why do I need to know the difference?”

Employers: If you hire someone as a contractor when they are actually an employee, you may later be held liable for extra costs including, unpaid PAYE tax, unpaid minimum wage, holidays, leave and Kiwisaver entitlements. You may also be at risk of receiving penalties from IRD and or the ERA.

Employees: If you are hired as a contractor incorrectly rather than as an employee, then you may miss out on your minimum employment rights and your Kiwisaver employer subsidy, plus you may end up paying tax and ACC levies that you didn’t have to.

If you need help determining your work status get in touch.

#worker #contractor #employee #workersrights

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Like their employees all employers and business owners in New Zealand have rights and responsibilities. In this article we will look at some of those rights and responsibilities that an employer can expect from their employees, the laws put in place to help protect them and the organisations and government agencies who are here to help all New Zealand businesses grow and be successful.

It goes without saying that employers have the right to hire and dismiss employees so long as they are following the proper procedures. There are a number of different factors that an employer must consider when hiring new employees. To read a full list visit

Employers have the right to expect that their employees will show up on time to work and perform all of their tasks in a manner that is reasonable and inline with the health and safety procedures that govern their industry. This means that employers have a right to expect that their employees will perform these tasks so long as they are lawful, not dangerous (unless this is a part of the role) and within the scope of the employment agreement that the two parties have agreed on.

If an employee does not carry out their tasks properly, does something on the job that goes against the policy of the workplace or refuses to carry out their task then the employer has the right to take disciplinary action against the employee. the employer must follow a fair process before making the decision and then acting on it.

Following the right disciplinary process should assist the employer to work through the issue and to deal with it before it becomes bigger or impacts more widely on the workplace. It should be seen primarily as a corrective measure, aimed at preventing further misconduct.

For more information about out the disciplinary process please visit

Employers and employees have a responsibility to act in good faith towards one another and act in a reasonable manner that builds trust and confidence.

  • Employers have a responsibility to pay employees what is stated in their employment agreements and must be at least the minimum wage

  • Employers must give each employee at least 4 weeks of annual leave

  • They must give their employees the day off on 11 public holidays or give them an alternative holiday if they work, if it is a normal working day for them, and pay them at least time and a half if they work a holiday

  • Give employees a minimum of 5 days sick leave. A new Bill being brought before the house in 2021 will see this increased to 10 days if it is passed.

  • Act in good faith and in an honest manner

  • Provide a safe workplace

  • Must not make any unlawful deductions from an employee's wages.

#rights #employee #employer #business

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