Independent contractors and unpaid interns are not regarded as employees and this means they are not covered by employment law.
An internship is where a person (usually a tertiary student) works for an organisation or business for a short period of time - usually for few months in order to get work experience – it is often an obligatory part of a tertiary course.
Some employers pay their interns but many do not.
Internships are not covered by the Employment Relations Act.
If you are an intern, your employment rights will depend on whether your working relationship resembles that of an employee or a volunteer.
The Employment New Zealand website has some information about determining your employment status when you are an intern.
An independent contractor (a "self-employed" person), isn't covered by the Employment Relations Act or the Holidays Act so the terms and conditions you work under should be covered by a "contract for service" drawn up between you and the business or organisation you do work for.
Organisations usually choose to engage an independent contractor rather than an employee in situations where:
· the work is occasional, short term or one-off;
· the work involves an area of expertise outside of the organisation's core business;
· the organisation has insufficient resources to employ an appropriate person within its budget for employees.
As an independent contractor you'll have no entitlement to sick leave, bereavement leave, or annual leave, nor can you raise a personal grievance if a dispute arises between you and the client you do work for. The contract should include when and how the relationship ends and it should also state the circumstances in which the relationship can be terminated early. It would be a good idea to have a lawyer look over the contract before you sign.
For free and confidential advice and information on this or any other matter visit the Palmerston North Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Hancock Community House, 77 King St. Opening hours, Monday-Friday from 9am-4.30pm, call 357 0647 or 0800 367 222. We have a free legal advice service by qualified lawyers most Thursday evenings at 7.30pm, and a JP is available on Tuesdays from noon-2.30pm. No appointment is necessary for either of these services.