In late November last year, the workplace relations regulator for the building and construction industry, the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) Leigh Johns announced the Sham Contracting Inquiry, which was to consult with key industry stakeholders and create some coordinated action on the increasingly pressing issue of sham contracting in the Australian construction industry.
Sham contracting essentially occurs when people are employed as independent contractors but are treated as regular employees. This generally results in them missing out on legal entitlements such as annual leave and long service leave. It also disadvantages fairer employers in the industry by placing them at a significant competitive disadvantage.
With both the ABCC and the Unions heavily pursuing the matter of Sham Contracting at the moment, it has become particularly important that employers ensure that their contracting arrangements are up to scratch.
So we sat down with Jim Doyle, of Doyles Construction Lawyers, to get a better understanding of the implications of sham contracting disputes, and what can be done to help avoid them.