Labour Inspectorate rules Gloriavale’s volunteer workforce are not employees


Members of the Gloriavale Christian community cannot be considered employees under New Zealand legislation, the Labour Inspectorate says.

In a statement released on Friday, the Labour Inspectorate said its finding meant it had no jurisdiction over the West Coast community and would not undertake further investigation or enforcement action at this point.

The Inspectorate investigated the employment status of people living and working at Gloriavale in 2017 after concerns raised by Charities Services, and again in 2020 after allegations of long working hours were made by two community members.

The results of both inquiries showed no employment relationships existed within Gloriavale as defined by New Zealand employment law.

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Christchurch filmmaker Cody Packer's documentary on the Gloriavale Christian Community shows women at work in the kitchens.

Cody Packer/Stuff

Christchurch filmmaker Cody Packer’s documentary on the Gloriavale Christian Community shows women at work in the kitchens.

Labour Inspectorate national manager Stu Lumsden said an employee was defined as a person who had agreed to do any work for some form of payment or reward under a contract of service.

“The evidence we evaluated showed that people who have lived or are living at Gloriavale gave service to the community without the expectations of being paid as individuals.”

Between September 2020 and February 2021, the Inspectorate interviewed 39 current and 13 former Gloriavale members, reviewed a range of documents provided by the community and individual members, and sought advice from Crown Law.

More to come

Former Gloriavale members protest outside the Press Leaders debate before the 2020 election in a bid to see changes in the way the religious community is run.

Joseph Johnson/Stuff

Former Gloriavale members protest outside the Press Leaders debate before the 2020 election in a bid to see changes in the way the religious community is run.



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