Home | Browse Topics | Jobs, benefits & flats | Starting and leaving a job | Changing jobs

Jobs, benefits & flats

Sex workers: Your rights

Changing jobs

Stopping sex work – it’s your choice

Prostitution Reform Act 2003, ss 16–18

You can stop doing sex work any time you want. It’s illegal to force someone to do sex work, or to force them to keep doing it.

No-one can make you stop doing sex work (though if you’re under 18 it’s illegal for them to help you do it).

No stand-down when you go on a benefit

Prostitution Reform Act 2003, s 18

If you stop doing sex work and apply to Work and Income to go on a benefit, you won’t have to go through a stand-down period before you start getting your benefit payments.

This is different from the usual rule that applies – most people have a stand-down of one to two weeks before they start getting the benefit. For rules about benefits generally, see the chapter “Dealing with Work and Income”.

Coming off a benefit or ACC – you can’t be pressured back into sex work

Prostitution Reform Act 2003, s 18

If Work and Income or ACC are trying to help you get off a benefit or ACC compensation and back into work, they can’t pressure you to go back to sex work if you don’t want to.

Getting support from the NZ Prostitutes Collective

If you need support dealing with Work and Income when you stop doing sex work, contact the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. They know a lot about the laws in this area, and they can even come with you to see Work and Income.

Did this answer your question?

Starting and leaving a job

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal information, advice and education about employment law issues.

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment


The Employment website of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment publishes a range of publications on employment relations and minimum rights at work.

Free phone: 0800 20 90 20, for general enquiries about employment relations, pay and holidays.

For translated employment information go to www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/rights-and-responsibilities/minimum-rights-of-employees-translations/#minimum

Reporting migrant exploitation


Make a complaint to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment about migrant exploitation with this online form.

If you need help completing the form or would like to speak to an interpreter, call 0800 200 088 between 8:00am – 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. You will be connected with an interpreter after you say the name of the language you speak.

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Te Kauae Kaimahi


Phone: (04) 385 1334
Email: info@nzctu.org.nz

The NZCTU is the umbrella body for affiliated unions covering every job and industry in New Zealand. It can provide information about which union may cover the type of work you do.

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective


A nationwide organisation run by sex workers for sex workers. They provide information and services for people who are doing sex work or thinking about doing sex work.

Phone (04) 382 8791
Mobile and media inquiries: 027 496 0700
Email: info@nzpc.org.nz

Migrant worker organisations

Union Network of Migrants – UNEMIG


Part of FIRST Union

Phone: 0800 863477

Migrant Workers Association


Email: help@migrantworkers.org.nz

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life. It’s for people living in Aotearoa New Zealand (and their advocates) to help themselves.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top