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Contractors run their own business and sell their services to others, unlike employees who work in someone else’s business.

Contractors — sometimes called independent contractors, sub-contractors or subbies — generally use their own processes, tools and methods to complete the work. They usually negotiate their own fees and working arrangements, and can work for more than one client at a time.

Contractors have workplace rights and protections but have different responsibilities relating to insurance, taxation and superannuation.

Understanding contracts

If you are a contractor, you should understand:

Differences between an employee and a contractor

Whether you are an employee or a contractor depends on many different factors. 

In general:

  • independent contractors work for themselves and are their own boss
  • employees work in someone else’s business – the employer controls how, where and when they do their work, and pays them a wage

But you need to consider a range of factors when deciding whether someone is an employee or contractor. 

To help you decide:

If you’re still not sure, you should consider getting independent legal advice.


If you believe your employer is incorrectly treating you as a contractor

Contact the:

Labour hire workers

A labour hire worker from an agency can be either an employee or a contractor of the labour hire agency which provides the worker's services. If you engage a labour hire worker, you’ll pay the agency a fee for their services.

The agency is responsible for providing their employees with employment entitlements such as leave.

5 common employee or contractor myths busted

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