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Caught in a triangle

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OPINION: Many workers may not be aware that they are currently employed within a triangle. If they are, what on earth does that mean?

In simple terms “triangular employment” refers to an employment relationship that operates in a triangle – that is the employee, their legal employer and the person who actually controls their work.

It has meant that you cannot seek remedies from your apparent employer because of legal structures, at least not without great difficulty.

Legislation just passed by Parliament deals with this issue. A wide range of workers are affected, including those working for labour hire companies and secondees.

* Labour-hire workers do the same job, earn less
* Bill to stop 'temp agencies' exploiting workers passes

Let’s say the ‘Bold Construction Company’ is building a large edifice in Lambton Quay, Wellington. Because of sickness and the ebb and flow of arriving construction materials, at some times the company needs a lot more labour than other times.

So Bold Construction goes to the ‘Ever-Ready Friendly Hire Company’ which employs a pool of casual labourers, and get Ever-Ready’s labourers to work on its building project.

All the instructions will be given by Bold Construction and if it asks Ever-Ready to remove people because it does not want them, or otherwise treats them badly, then the workers only have an obvious remedy against Ever-Ready (if at all).


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