ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Worker's ability to subcontract or delegate

Consider whether a worker's agreement allows them to pay another person to do the work for them.

Last updated 15 December 2022

Worker can't subcontract or delegate work

This is a characteristic of an employee.

A worker can't subcontract or delegate the work if:

  • the contract requires them to personally do the work
  • the worker can't do the work themselves and they organise for another person to do it, but your business pays the other person – this is substitution, not delegation.
Start of example

Example: a worker can't subcontract or delegate work

A commercial cleaning business has a contract to clean a number of small offices. The business has several cleaners who do the cleaning work, including Ann and Ben.

Ann can't do her shift and her contract does not allow her to pay someone else to do the work, so she organises Ben to cover for her. The business pays Ben for his extra cleaning shift.

As Ann only organised for Ben to complete her shift and did not pay him, she has not subcontracted or delegated the work.

End of example

Worker can subcontract or delegate work

Subcontracting or delegating work is a characteristic of a contractor.

A worker can subcontract or delegate the work if they are not contractually required to do the work personally and can pay another person to do the work.

Start of example

Example: a worker can subcontract or delegate work

A remedial massage therapist, Con, has a contract with an aged care facility to provide massage therapy to residents.

The written agreement between Con and the aged care facility specifies:

  • Con does not need to personally do the work
  • any suitably qualified massage therapist who has a current police clearance and the appropriate insurance can do the work.

Con is unwell and can't work for a week, so:

  • Con organises for another therapist (who runs a massage business) to cover his work
  • the aged care facility still pays Con as outlined in the contracted agreement
  • Con pays the other therapist for their work.

As Con was not contractually required to do the work personally and could pay another person to do the work, he has delegated the work.

End of example

QC33176