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Are Contractors Covered by Awards

As the gig economy continues to expand, many people are now operating as independent contractors. However, questions often arise regarding whether or not they are covered by awards.

Awards, also known as industry or enterprise agreements, are legally binding documents that govern wages and conditions for employees in a particular industry or occupation. They are typically negotiated between the relevant union and employer bodies and registered with the Fair Work Commission.

It`s important to note that awards only apply to employees, not independent contractors. Independent contractors work for themselves and are not entitled to the same rights and protections as employees under Australia`s workplace laws.

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides guidance on what factors determine whether someone is an employee or independent contractor. Generally, an independent contractor has more control over how, when and where they work, and takes on the financial risk of their work. On the other hand, an employee generally receives regular pay, works set hours, and is subject to an employer`s direction and control.

However, it`s also worth noting that simply calling someone an independent contractor does not necessarily make it so. The actual working arrangement between parties is what determines the correct classification.

If an independent contractor is found to be incorrectly classified, they may be entitled to certain entitlements such as minimum wages, superannuation and leave entitlements.

In some cases, independent contractors may be covered by other agreements or contracts. For example, some construction contracts may have clauses that require subcontractors to comply with certain conditions or pay rates.

Ultimately, whether or not contractors are covered by awards depends on the specific circumstances of their working arrangement. It`s important for both parties to understand their rights and obligations under the law to avoid any potential disputes or legal issues. If in doubt, seeking legal or professional advice is always recommended.

In conclusion, awards apply only to employees and not independent contractors. However, the correct classification of a worker depends on the arrangements of the specific working relationship. It`s always best to be clear about this from the outset to avoid any misunderstandings or legal problems down the track.

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