Friday, September 21, 2007

Minimum remuneration bill back

The Transport and Industrial Relations committee has reported back [PDF] on Darien Fenton's Minimum Wage and Remuneration Amendment Bill, but failed to reach a conclusion. The bill would have created a minimum level of remuneration for contracts for services - meaning that companies wouldn't be able to circumvent the minimum wage by reclassifying their employees as "independent contractors" (something which is an increasing problem at the bottom end of the labour market, particularly with cleaners). However, the committee was divided on the need for the bill (National in particular supporting the exploitation of those at the bottom of the heap), and on whether the proposed regulatory structure was the best way of dealing with the problem. As a result, they were unable to reach agreement and the bill has been sent back to the House unamended.

The question now is whether Labour can assemble the votes in the House to pass it. Unfortunately, the critical vote seems to be that of Taito Phillip Field...