Sham contracting

SubjectWork Studies YearYear 10 CurriculumAC v8.4 Time350

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This activity provides an overview of the difference between an employee and a contractor. Students investigate the rise of sham contracting in Australia and consider its impacts on workers and broader society.

Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 10 students explain the relationship between changing circumstances, learning and 21st century work opportunities and identify the skills needed to manage changes. They evaluate work-related communication tools and analyse the skills and capacities needed for 21st century work including appropriate communication skills, collaboration and teamwork. Students explain the importance of developing entrepreneurial skills and a distinct profile to
access and manage 21st century work opportunities and challenges. Students understand the importance of growing self-awareness in improving learning, accessing work opportunities and developing appropriate skills and making more-informed subject and career choices. They analyse emerging 21st century work arrangements and the resultant changing relationships between participants, the opportunities arising and the skills needed for these emerging work
arrangements. Students explain the roles of agencies associated with employment support. They outline 21st century approaches to recruitment and selection, and skills required in responding to them. Students explain the benefits of different cultural perspectives in managing work and problem-solving. They identify possible tensions arising in work-related contexts and understand the approaches to resolve conflicts and tensions.

Students process the skills required to manage change and transition. They select learning strategies and career information and sources and evaluate and align their personal capacities. They select and apply appropriate communication methods in a range of contexts. Students form and work in teams on a range of work-related tasks and observe and incorporate the skills needed to work collaboratively. They apply entrepreneurial skills to plan, implement and
complete a negotiated action project. Students evaluate their findings, propose actions, make recommendations and present these to an audience of stakeholders. They synthesise increased self-knowledge and career information to school and career-based decisions and create potential career scenarios.
Students research a range of information and data to identify trends in work arrangements emerging over time and evaluate agencies and organisations that support various employment situations. Students practise using and responding to 21st century recruitment and selection tools, methods and skills for accessing real and created work opportunities. Students collect and interpret information on different cultural approaches to ways of working. They explain
the importance of culturally diverse workplaces to managing work, work relationships and productivity. Students apply conflict resolution methods and skills to work-related contexts

Content descriptions

Explain how diverse work arrangements are impacting on the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers (ACWSCL039)

Teacher resources

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Avoid the myths

Student learning resources

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Sham contracting

Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group.

  1. Explain to students the meaning of sham contracting:
    A sham contracting arrangement is when an employer attempts to disguise an employment relationship as a contracting arrangement. This may be done to avoid certain taxes and responsibility for employee entitlements such as minimum wages, superannuation, workers' compensation and leave.
  2. More information: Avoid the myths. This page explains the myths associated with contractors.
  3. Invite students to complete the See Think Wonder visible thinking routine.
  4. Explain that some bosses try to avoid paying tax by treating you as a contractor and may ask you to apply for an ABN. It's against the law for a business to incorrectly treat their employees as contractors.
  5. Students complete the investigation.
  6. Use a discussion strategy for students to discuss the following:
    What are the potential consequences of sham contracting for businesses, individuals and society in general?