Contractors’ wage bill passes first reading

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Contractors should be paid no less than the minimum wage according to a private members bill raised by Labour MP David Parker.

The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill was narrowly passed by parliament on Wednesday night with a vote of 61 in favour and 60 against.

The purpose of the bill is to amend the Minimum Wage Act 1983 to extend its provisions to apply to payments under a contract for services that are remunerated at below the minimum wage. reports that it was backed by Peter Dunne and the Maori Party but opposed by National who said that they agree with the intent of the bill but that it would have unintended consequences for both contractors and employers.

National MP Andrew Bayly commented: "There's an underlying assumption that employers aren't to be trusted, and I don't think that's right in our current environment”.

The bill would require many employers to pay at least minimum wage to contractors including:
  • Cleaners
  • Builders
  • Couriers
  • Truck Drivers
  • Caterers
  • Fast food delivery drivers
  • Home care workers
  • Licensed Security Guards
  • Telemarketers
  • Market Researchers
  • Manufacturers of clothing, footwear and textiles
  • Entertainers
  • Newspaper/leaflet delivery workers
  • Foresters
Parker said that his bill is only addressing the issue of wages rather than other things that may concern contractors such as holiday pay or ACC levies.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the bill will now be heard by the transport and industrial relations select committee but that is has been before a select committee before.

The bill was presented by Parker when he was a Labour minister but has been revised.

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