As the politicians return to Canberra for the opening of the 45th Parliament of Australia, we will see how the government intends to pursue its changes to the Fair Work Act (FWA) to protect vulnerable workers.
The new Senate comprises 30 Coalition, 26 Labour and 20 cross-bench senators, 9 of those Greens. It is very likely that a majority of Senators will be saying that the Government’s promised pre-election policy reforms don’t go far enough.
Range of Policy Positions
The Coalition’s policy featured 5 ways in which it would seek to deliver stronger protections for vulnerable workers -
Labor Party policy also proposed amendments to increase penalties and broaden the net with which to capture franchisors and their supply chains. Labour policy extended this further by proposing -
The Greens spokesperson on Industrial Relations, Adam Bandt, said last year when introducing his private members bill to protect vulnerable workers -
“It's time to treat labour laws as seriously as tax laws and beef up our enforcement agencies so everyone in Australia gets paid a legal wage.”
Featured in the bill was the ability for franchise workers to pursue “the company’s head office for the money and compensation they are owed.”
Accordingly we can expect the Greens to push for reform in the franchise sector and support a wider range of penalties.
Our View: It’s not “If”, but “When”
The Turnbull Government's workplace reform agenda will hopefully become clearer as Parliament commences its spring sitting in the first week of September.
As the Coalition’s policy positions on increasing penalties, key reforms in the franchise sector including increased franchisor accountability, and greater resourcing support for the Fair Work Ombudsman, have in- principle support from both the Labour & Greens, we can expect that this will be a positive catalyst for action in the short term.
ER Strategies will be following the progress of legislation as it is introduced and providing updates and commentary as the program unfolds.
How We Can Help
While protecting your franchise brand can be complicated, we are familiar with all the common challenges and headaches that both franchisors and franchisees face, and have experts to help you navigate the changes in legislation.
We provide a range of “Brand Protection” services to help you prepare for the coming laws, including payroll audits, franchisee advice lines on correct wage rates and conditions, employee helplines, workplace health and safety programs and enterprise bargaining.
Contact us at ER Strategies on 1300 55 66 37, or visit https://erstrategies.com.au/franchisorprotection.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by QSR Media. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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