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As an escort agency, it is best practice to be engaged in an escort agency contract with your employees. An escort agency contract both creates and governs the legal relationship that you have with your employees. This contract should detail the obligations you have as an employer and your employees’ rights and obligations. This article will detail some of the key terms you should include in your escort agency contract. 

1. Affirmation of Legal Status to Work

Your contract should affirm that your employees are of legal status to work as an escort in New Zealand. Sex work, including working as an escort, is decriminalised in New Zealand. However, it is against the law for:

  • anyone to facilitate a person who is under the age of 18 into sex work. Your business will be committing a crime if you hire an escort under the age of 18; and 
  • an individual to work as an escort who is visiting New Zealand on a temporary visa. It is your obligation to ensure that no employees are on a temporary visa. 

An escort agency contract should outline the criteria for a legal escort in New Zealand and affirm that any potential employee meets this criterion. 

2. Payments Terms 

Your escort agreement should outline:

  • the amount of money your employees will receive for their escort services; and
  • the terms of this payment. 

You may pay your employees:

  • at an hourly rate; or
  • a percentage of the amount that a client pays for their services. You should specify in the escort contract the percentage that you will pay each employee. For example, your employees may receive 70% of the price you charge to clients. 

Additionally, the escort agreement should also detail:

  • when employees can expect to receive these payments. It is common to pay employees on a weekly or monthly basis; 
  • how you will make these payments; and
  • any other additional costs that you will cover, such as the cost of transport.

3. Obligations of the Employer

In New Zealand, there is a range of obligations that all escort agencies and sex work employers must take on. Your contract should clearly state these obligations. 

Personal Protective Equipment

As an employer, you are legally required to provide your employees with any personal protective equipment necessary to provide their services as an escort. This equipment includes:

  • condoms;
  • water-based lubricants; 
  • gloves; and
  • any other items required to maintain any equipment or facilities they use. This may extend to cleaning products, such as disinfectants. 

You must ensure that your employees can easily access this equipment at all times during their work. 

Premises

You are obligated to keep the work premises in a clean condition at all times. This obligation includes:

  • cleaning any rooms, showers, baths or toilets on the premises;
  • providing clean linen;
  • supplying sanitary facilities; 
  • providing first aid kits; and
  • ensuring that the temperature and lighting meet the legal requirements of a workspace. 

You may wish to hire additional staff to ensure that your workplace meets these cleaning obligations.

Health and Safety

In conjunction with ensuring that the workspace is clean, you must ensure that any premises or equipment that your employees’ use in the provision of their services is safe. 

Additionally, you must take all practicable steps to protect your employees’ health, safety and welfare whilst they are at work. How you intend to do this should be articulated in the contract. These steps should include:

  • an outline of how you will maintain the place of work to ensure it is safe and without risk to health; 
  • the provision of any work-related requirements that will be at no cost to your employees; 
  • emergency procedures should an emergency occur;
  • clearly displaying signs promoting safer sex practices; and 
  • the provision of information and training to ensure the health and safety of all employees of the agency.

Further, the maintenance of health and safety in the workplace also extends to issues of violence. You are obligated to:

  • eliminate potentially abusive or violent situations;
  • encourage all employees to report all incidents of violence; and 
  • install any mechanisms or devices that will aid in eliminating violence from your workplace.

4. Obligations of the Escort

Your employees will also have to take on certain responsibilities to provide their work as an escort. Your contract should outline these obligations, and any additional responsibilities that you wish to include. 

Sexual Health Assessment

If your employees provide any sexual services as an escort, they must regularly attend a sexual health service for a sexual health assessment. At a minimum, your employees should obtain a comprehensive screen twice a year. However, you may wish to specify that these assessments should occur more regularly for health and safety reasons. 

Premises

Although it is mainly your responsibility as an employer to maintain clean work premises, your employees will also be obligated to keep their specific workspace clean. This obligation may involve disinfecting and cleaning the space after each client. 

Health and Safety

Your employees are obliged to act responsibly and follow any safety standards that you set in their performance of their work as an escort. Hence, your escort agreement should specify these standards. These standards should include:

  • a commitment to safe-sex practices. Your employees are obliged to use protection during any provision of sex work; 
  • protocol for any defaults in protection; and 
  • following safe systems of work, such as disinfecting any equipment used in the provision of their work.

5. Rights of an Escort 

Escorts in New Zealand are entitled to certain rights; regardless of whether they are an employee of your agency or an independent contractor. Therefore, your contract should specify these rights, and should include:

  • the right to determine their work conditions. Your employees may work out of a premise that you own or lease, or their own private dwelling. However, whether they can operate out of their own home will depend on local law enforcement;
  • the absolute right to decline clients without providing a reason. In New Zealand, you cannot force any employee to have sexual relations or intercourse with a client, even if the client has already paid; 
  • the right to the provision of personal protection equipment; and
  • health and safety at work.

Informing your employees of these rights will ensure that your agency is not in breach of any of its legal obligations as an escort agency.  

6. Termination 

The contract should also detail the grounds on which you can terminate the contract. Usually, you will be entitled to terminate the escort contract if one of your employees breaches an agreement term. This breach may be:

  • failing to use personal protective equipment with a client; or 
  • endangering a client or another employee.

However, you cannot terminate a contract because one of your employees has refused to have or continue to have sexual intercourse with a client. 

The contract should specify the protocol of a termination. This protocol may include:

  • providing your employee with a notice of their termination; and
  • the return of any equipment used by your employees.

Key Takeaways

Like any other line of work, you must have a well-drafted escort contract with your employees before they engage in any work. This agreement should include:

  • the payment terms; 
  • your obligations as an employer;
  • the obligations and rights of your employees;  
  • the grounds on which you can terminate the agreement.

If you need assistance drafting an escort agency contract or are having any other legal issues, contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page. 

FAQs

What is an escort agency contract?

An escort agency contract is a written agreement that creates and governs the legal relationship between an escort agency and its employees.

Is it legal to run an escort agency?

In New Zealand, it is legal to run an escort agency. However, there are certain limitations as to who you and your agency can employ as an escort. It is illegal for your escort agency to employ: anyone who is under the age of 18; or anyone who is visiting New Zealand on a temporary visa.

What should an escort agency contract include?

An escort agency contract should contain terms on: the method and amount of payment; the obligations of the agency as an employer; the rights and obligations of the employees; and termination. 

What are the obligations of an escort agency?

An escort agency is legally obligated to: provide their employees with personal protective equipment; provide and maintain clean working premises; and ensure that any premise or equipment that their employees use are safe. 

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