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Turnbull and Liberals dormant on sham contracting issues



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THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS MEMBER FOR GORTON

TURNBULL AND LIBERALS DORMANT ON SHAM CONTRACTING ISSUES

Labor is calling on the Turnbull Government to join us and take a stand against sham independent contracting, where underpayment is rampant and employment rights and conditions are being ripped away.

Yesterday, the Fair Work Ombudsman launched legal action alleging Foodora had used sham independent contracts for bike riders. This is a welcome development.

Labor, however, remains concerned that the Fair Work Ombudsman has had to step in because the government is asleep at the wheel when it comes to sham contracting and the changing nature of the labour market.

Despite multiple examples of underpayment and exploitation of workers employed as contractors, when they clearly are employees, the Government has completely failed to act.

A Shorten Labor Government will amend the law to prevent employers forcing their workers into sham contracting arrangements to avoid direct employment.

Sham independent contracting denies workers employer contributions to superannuation, sick leave, holiday pay, and all of the other entitlements while making them pay for their own workers compensation insurance.

Turnbull and his Liberals should put workers first for once and take action. They can start by tightening the test of sham contracting.

This Liberal Government has no interest in improving Australia’s workplace relations system. It hasn’t even responded to the Productivity Commission report from 2015 which recommended changes to the test of an independent contractor to discourage sham contracting.

The report states:

“It is too easy under the current test for an employer to escape prosecution for sham contracting. Recalibrating the test from one of ‘recklessness’ to ‘reasonableness’ is justified.”

While there are undoubtedly benefits to the gig economy and new forms of work organisation, if a business model can only succeed on the basis of undermining workers’ rights and avoiding workers entitlements, that is not a model Labor supports.

WEDNESDAY, 13 JUNE 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: ERIN SMITH 0458 950 010

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra