If you are a franchisor and you engage contractors, this affects you. The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill has been passed and here’s what you can expect:
A new ‘serious contravention’ fine
You will now be fined a maximum of $12,600 for a standard breach and $126,000 for repeated systematic contravening behaviour. These penalties may be on top of any other misdemeanours.
Higher penalties for failing to keep wage records
Devised to deter employers from tampering with records to hide underpayments.
Franchisors and holding companies will be made accountable for their contractors’ contraventions
If you are are significantly involved in your franchisee’s financial, operational and corporate affairs, you will now be held responsible if you fail to prevent certain contraventions that you know or ought to have known about.
New compulsive powers for the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to gather evidence
Subject to AAT approval, if the FWO believes on reasonable grounds that you have any information or documents pertaining to an FWO investigation into a contravention of the Fair Work Act, they may issue an FWO notice requiring you to hand over the material or appear before the FWO for questioning.
Shifting the onus of proof to franchisors in certain Fair Work Act proceedings
This will apply in circumstances where a franchisor has failed, under section 535 of the Fair Work Act, to maintain or produce their contractors’ records for inspection.
Prohibition of unlawful cashback or deduction practices
Franchisors are no longer allowed to demand unreasonable paybacks from their contractors’ paid wages.