Australian Government independent contractor laws

Several laws work together to protect the freedoms, rights and entitlements of independent contractors. The include the:

These laws play a role in an independent contractor's business arrangements by:

  • preventing state laws treating independent contractors as employees 
  • replacing New South Wales and Queensland unfair contracts laws with federal laws  
  • making it illegal for an employer to disguise an employment relationship as an independent contracting arrangement
  • making it illegal for employers to threaten or mislead employees into changing their status to independent contractors.

Interaction with state laws

Under some state laws, workers are ‘deemed’ to be employees, even though they have been hired as independent contractors.

State ‘deeming’ laws mean that workers in particular industries have to be treated as employees even if they are independent contractors. For example, such a law may say that all carpenters are employees and must be employed under state employment laws.

The Australian Government independent contractor laws do not automatically change any employees into independent contractors. Nor do they affect any other types of laws that apply to independent contractors such as taxation, occupational health and safety or superannuation.

It is recommended that you seek legal advice to determine whether this Act applies to you.

Information and resources to help you understand more about the independent contractor laws can be found at Who is covered and Getting help.

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