Labour now wants to unionise paper boys!

December 5th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Lisa Beech from Caritas writes in the Herald:

Parliament will this week debate whether working children aged 16 or younger should be regarded as employees rather than contractors, when Te Tai Tonga MP ’s private member’s bill is introduced on Wednesday.

The bill is here. It states:

The purpose of this Act is to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 to provide that all persons aged 16 and under who perform labour for remuneration in New Zealand are to be regarded as employees, with all the rights that such status confers.

Oh good god. That means babysitters and paper boys would now become employees. Even Scouts doing bob a job might end up as employees.

The minimum wage act would probably then apply, so 10 year olds can’t be hired for less than $10 an hour!

Nice to see Labour focused on the big issues such as giving 16 year olds the vote and 10 year olds the right to go to the Employment Relations Authority!

Of concern to us was that many of the children working as contractors were in turn sub-contracting younger siblings to do their work – over half of those children in our study involved younger brothers and sisters in their work.

Disgraceful.

While some worked under parental supervision, others did not. One 12-year-old had sole supervision of his 8-year-old brother and 6-year-old sister while undertaking delivery work on the road.

By contrast, the directly employed children were expected to do their rounds themselves, or had sick leave cover provided from the wider pool of employed children.

This must be stopped. You can’t have younger siblings helping their older siblings out.

We learned subsequently that the year after the release of our 2007 Delivering the Goods report, a 6-year-old girl died on the roads while accompanying her 12-year-old brother on his delivery round.

Very sad, but kids die in accidents. Some fall down drains. Others get hit by cars. Each loss is a tragedy. But that doesn’t mean turning kids from contractors into employees will mean no such accidents happen. And note in this case the six year old was not substituting for her brother – she was accompanying him. This is what kids do – like to hang around with their siblings and help them (or annoy them).

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31 Responses to “Labour now wants to unionise paper boys!”

  1. dave (988 comments) says:

    “Oh good god. That means babysitters and paper boys would now become employees.”

    is this legislation fair on 17-year old babysitters? Does it mean that parents have to pay ACC levies if they hire a babysitter and cannot pay them less than $10 per hour until they turn 17?

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  2. Harriet (4,981 comments) says:

    C’mon David, how can a 12yld work and babysit at the same time……and on a fucken road?

    I don’t think the union should be dealing with these matters – but the police!

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  3. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    “Very sad, but kids die in accidents. Some fall down drains. Others get hit by cars. Each loss is a tragedy.”
    True, but when it happens because the child was doing something to benefit an employer, who is profiting from that child, I think there should be some level of oversight.

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  4. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Does this mean parents have to pay their babysitters annual leave and sick pay also? What about statutory holidays?

    Is there a greater ACC levy for the child mowing lawns over the one at the mercy of the [babysat] children.

    The Citizens Advice Bureaus should be kept busy with all of the enquiries from parents about their PAYE obligations to their babysitter and lawn mowing employees.

    And to think Labour made a big deal about Peter Dunne taxing paper boys. (What’s the bet that has slipped their minds now.)

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  5. annie (539 comments) says:

    Forcing kids into an employee situation encourages passivity – the freedom and sense of responsibility and control of contract work would be lost – possibly the most valuable lesson the kids are learning.

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  6. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Writing as a Roman Catholic – can I just say how ashamed I am of the way Caritas operates in this country.

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  7. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    I thought this was an April Fools Day joke, then I remembered that it’s December.

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  8. Reid (16,513 comments) says:

    If you have a look at the author’s organisation’s website, you find powerful madness:

    http://www.caritas.org.nz/

    e.g. http://www.caritas.org.nz/newsroom/media-releases/%E2%80%98open-your-eyes%E2%80%99-caritas-tells-committee-considering-welfare-changes

    Caritas CEO Julianne Hickey said that Caritas opposed the Bill because, like the Welfare Working Group which preceded the legislation, the Bill focused on the motivation and behaviour of individuals who receive benefits, rather than the economic and structural context of unemployment.

    Sound like a lefty view of the world? You bet it is.

    If you read the other releases, you realise the Catholic Bishop’s Group has got someone like Penny Bright in charge of their research and advocacy unit. Let’s hope the Bishop’s Group wakes up soon. It’s going to cause them severe credibility problems if they don’t. Shame it is though, that the CEO clearly feels the same way as Lisa. Perhaps there’s something in the air conditioning.

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  9. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Well I routinely leave my 8 yr old at home for short periods of time, Harriet. We used to live in Johnsonville and my son would run down to the dairy all the time at the age of 5 through to 7. He’d go and buy a pie and a bag pf chips and once a bag of nappies when I had the norovirus. A couple of times he took his five year old brother. It’s this weekly trip to the dairy that he misses most about NZ. Most other Mums were too paranoid to use their common sense about leaving kids alone.

    m@tt (466) Says:
    December 5th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    “Very sad, but kids die in accidents. Some fall down drains. Others get hit by cars. Each loss is a tragedy.”
    True, but when it happens because the child was doing something to benefit an employer, who is profiting from that child, I think there should be some level of oversight.

    Oh my God!!!! – this is why New Zealand became the PC hellhole I was fortunate enough to escape this time last year. GOD FORBID anyone should make a profit off a kid.
    How the fuck else do kids learn their money skills? Trade is what our society is built on and if you don’t learn money skills young, you end up bludging off the state.

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  10. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    I’d not let a 6 year old do a paper run with a 12 yr old.

    6 years old, you can’t judge traffic speed & distance.

    You are allowed to let a kid walk home alone from school , but, not allowed to be alone in the house for any period.

    Personally, I think the kid is probably safer in the house than walking home.

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  11. Reid (16,513 comments) says:

    if you don’t learn money skills young, you end up bludging off the state.

    That’s the idea Monique. That’s the whole idea.

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  12. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    Surely this isn’t the same Lisa Beech who worked for the Hutt South electorate between 1990 – 1992? And the same Lisa Beech who subsequently worked for Twevor himself?

    Nah – surely not? 8O

    http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/lisa-beech/15/b86/946

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=190935

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  13. Viking2 (11,489 comments) says:

    Are the unions that desperate for funds?

    Really, well with the startling and rapid demise in newspapers being delivered I guess the membership will be fuck all.

    Have to think of something else to raise funds then.

    Now about youth rates. If the useless Nats had dealt to this and we had a proper structure to work under that reflected value for money working then the unionists might have a had a chance to collect but as it is noone wants to employ young people to do anything. Just too expensive for the return.

    Sad but true.
    Even if the stupid turkey’s, who think that kids are worth paying lots of dosh too, don’t understand simple mathematical logic..

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  14. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    I don’t think the union should be dealing with these matters – but the police!

    I don’t think it is any of their business.

    If you crave that level of government interference, then I suggest you move to North Korea.

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  15. Harriet (4,981 comments) says:

    Kea#

    “…………”..I don’t think the union should be dealing with these matters – but the police!..” -I don’t think it is any of their business Harriet. …..If you crave that level of government interference, then I suggest you move to North Korea….”

    Charles Dickin’s ‘child mills’ are less dangerous than NZ roads!

    And you reckon that kids should work and babysit at the same time on them?

    Of course it is a police matter…….does the executive think it isn’t? :cool:

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  16. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    You are all missing the point…. This is about employment stats – Labour want to be able to say they have created [x] thousand new jobs by rearranging the deck chairs and reclassifying existing “jobs” … Plus of course this will provide additional funding for unions which = more donations to Labour…. Think self serving unions and self serving policies and the answers reveal themselves.

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  17. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Wreck1080:

    Kids mature differently. A parent is the only one who can judge what their kids are capable of. In my opinion, fourteen is ridiculous as a designated age that you can leave kids alone.

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  18. peterwn (3,277 comments) says:

    Legislation in recent times stops kids working very early in the morning. Result – paper boys and girls have been laid off and replaced by car driving adults who heave them out of the window and it is hit and miss whether they land in the gutter.

    As for ‘sub-contracting’ – what about the parents roped in to help sometimes.

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  19. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Reid – I understand that the Holy See has recently been cracking down hard on the way that nominally Catholic organisations have simply come to mirror bien-pensant left secular advocacy groups.

    However, this rot is somewhat inevitable – it’s good to bear in mind O’Sullivan’s Law that any organization that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time.

    Do you think anyone at Caritas has ever heard of, let alone read, JP2’s encyclical Centesimus Annus? Do you think they would even comprehend its lucid critique of the modern welfare state? No – and for that reason they do not act in accordance with social justice which, after all, is a Catholic idea.

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  20. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    Cato @230

    re Caritas etc Couldn’t agree with you more. Large elements of the hierarchy and various other branches appear not too far removed from being agents of the old enemy,the friggen commies.

    They’ve bought into “social justice,climate justice,” and any number of other fashionable causes,

    Sometimes I feel like crossing the road to the Orthodox.

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  21. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    Will David Bain head the Paper-boys union?

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  22. Tim (11 comments) says:

    The Bill won’t mean that every person who provides labour for hire or reward and who is aged 16 or under will need to be paid the minimum wage because there is no minimum wage for people aged 15 and under (see s4 Minimum Wage Act 1983). Ten year olds already have the right to go to the Employment Relations Authority.

    Section 18 Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 already says that principals must take all practicable steps to keep their contractors safe. In addition, r 58A Health and Safety Regulations 1995 extends the protections afforded to young employees to young contractors, which include protections such as a prohibition on young workers working with machinery or doing any dangerous work.

    The Minors’ Contracts Act 1969 already says that contracts are unenforceable against minors but otherwise have effect as if the minor were of full age, unless a court decides otherwise. So, if you hire a paperboy as a contractor you can’t actually enforce that contract against him unless a court decides it is fair and reasonable. Contracts of service (employment agreements) may be entered into by minors but courts may examine whether those contracts are harsh or oppressive or unconscionable.

    The difference would largely be around Holidays Act entitlements and other minimum employment code provisions. Hopefully not parental leave at that age.

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  23. wat dabney (3,778 comments) says:

    The aim is to politicise every aspect of everyone’s lives.

    There won’t be anything you can do which is not controlled and regulated by the state.

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  24. Dazzaman (1,140 comments) says:

    My kids wouldn’t take any notice of this sort of thing anyway. The older ones will still bribe their lesser’s with an ice cream to do their runs for them, all the while all of them will moan to their mother about their inequitable monetary situation…and she’ll cave & use up my “allowance” (we all know who gets the lions share on payday…straight into her account) to cheer them up!

    I never win.

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  25. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    In my experience most kids are either employees working for supermarkets etc, or they work for cash. I have never heard of this mythical contractor kid who files their own tax return etc. Does such a thing exist?

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  26. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Sadu

    My daughter contracts and has to do the tax thing because she is paid by an agency that has to do the tax thing.

    Its that bloody tax thing all the time

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  27. salt (133 comments) says:

    Jesus, it’s not as if they’re saying paperboys must now be offered pension plans. All they are proposing is that a 12-year-old working for you on a regular basis have the same legal rights as a 16, 17, 18, or 33-year-old working for you in the same circumstances.

    It is utterly ridiculous to consider young children ‘contractors’ – contractors are self-employers, effectively; and in order to conform 100% with the law, that entails a much higher degree of savvy and planning than simply being an employee. Plenty of adults seem cognitively incapable of following the contractor rules, so it seems a bit rough to tell intermediate-age kids they’ve no other option.

    As for babysitters etc: plenty of people over the age of 16 babysit, whether for free or for cash. I doubt any of the parents involved pay ACC levies or the like. The sky has not fallen in. By the same token, I doubt that a 14-year-old ‘contractor’ babysitting for several families a month is even aware of the need to declare his/her income, or to pay ACC levies.

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  28. Dirty Rat (383 comments) says:

    So I take it that Farrar wants to ensure that paper boys are self employed, pay their own ACC, and contract Accountants to prepare their IR3’s ?

    Which of course they wont

    By that logic Farrar and the National Party promotes Tax Evasion

    Shame on you Farrar

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  29. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    :) Hillarious

    I like the constant “the sky is falling!, the commies are coming!” comments followed by Tim’s simple statement of the actual facts. Followed by …. silence. Nothing like a few facts to get in the way of a good bit of lefty bashing. Darn it, no wonder this thread is all quiet.

    Let’s play a game of …I predict Farrar’s next column will be…

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  30. Manolo (13,838 comments) says:

    And to think Labour made a big deal about Peter Dunne taxing paper boys.

    Rightly so, too. Dunne should keep his sticky fingers out of anyone’s pay packet.
    It deserves as much condemnation as the socialists’ ludicrous idea.

    Thieves from both sides of Parliament.

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  31. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    My daughter contracts and has to do the tax thing because she is paid by an agency that has to do the tax thing.

    She’s not really contracting if the agency is compelled to pay tax. Valid contacts only exist between parties who are not under the power of another (sui juris).

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