Under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, employers are bound to make superannuation guarantee contributions for independent contractors where the independent contractor is engaged as an individual. The Act has been amended to expand the meaning of employee to include a “person who works under a contract that is wholly or principally for the labour of the person”. Often the individual will be employed by a company or trust, known as an interposed entity), which enters into the contract with the principal. Most practitioners recommend that the contractor arrange for an interposed entity because the law is much more likely to conclude that the individual is an employer rather than an independent contractor for the purpose of the application of tax laws and workers compensation.
One interesting question which arises is whether the expanded definition includes a lawn mowing contractor. If the contractor does not operate under an interposed entity, is he or she to be treated as an employee for the purpose of superannuation contributions? There is nothing in the definition of “employee” in the Act which answers this question, and I would be interested to enquire of others their views about this.