Business owner says cleaners are being exploited

FAIR GO: Bendigo Property Services owner Martin Leach says it is common for businesses to pay cleaners as subcontractors rather than employees. Picture: FAIRFAX FILE

FAIR GO: Bendigo Property Services owner Martin Leach says it is common for businesses to pay cleaners as subcontractors rather than employees. Picture: FAIRFAX FILE

BENDIGO cleaners are being deprived of sick pay, superannuation and employment rights through sham contracting arrangements, says a local business owner.

Bendigo Property Services owner Martin Leach said it was common for businesses to hire cleaners on the basis they have an Australian Business Number, so they could pay them as subcontractors rather than employees. 

"Too many cleaners are being forced into sham contracts, being expected to have their own ABN and I don't believe this is a fair way to treat cleaners," Mr Leach said.

"I see ads from time to time and it makes my blood boil. There are people being taken advantage of."

Mr Leach said the trend also disadvantaged business owners who hired people as employees, because they could not compete with prices offered by companies that were employing people as subcontractors.

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the government needed to crack down on the trend.

"Right now we have cleaners in Bendigo who are being treated as their own small business," she said.

"Too many cleaners are being forced to be subcontractors when in any other industry you would be considered an employee.

"I've written to the treasurer and called on him to review this issue."

Lisa Chesters

Lisa Chesters

But a Bendigo woman who hires cleaners as subcontractors for her cleaning business said, "Nothing in life is a level playing field."

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, recently advertised a two-day cleaning position, which required interested workers to have an ABN.

She said many employers, including herself, paid people above the award wage to make up for a lack of benefits.

"The final decision to work as a subcontractor is up to them - no one is going to force them," she said.

She said working as a subcontractor had its advantages, such as flexible working arrangements.

"They can work part-time for one company and part-time for another or decide they don't want to work for one business and instead work for another," she said.

Employment Minister Eric Abetz not did respond to a request for comment.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop