Are you sure your ‘independent contractors’ are not ‘employees’?
Two recent cases have highlighted how important the distinction between ‘independent contractors’ and ’employees’ is:
- in one case, it was held that a plumbing business did not meet its superannuation guarantee obligations in respect of five of its plumbers that it had treated as independent contractors; and
- in a case between a taxi driver and the owner of the taxi, the Fair Work Commission held that the relationship between them was one of employer/employee, and therefore the unfair dismissal laws applied to their relationship.
As a general proposition, an independent contractor provides personal services whilst working in and for his or her own business, whereas an employee provides personal services whilst working in the employer’s business.