A register that showcases franchisor workplace compliance has been launched by Frandata Australia, which runs the Australian Franchise Registry.
The Workplace Transparency Standard has been developed after consultation with key industry stakeholders, and draws significantly from the compliance expectations of Fair Work Australia.
Although this is not an audited process, franchisors who have signed up to this standard must certify their compliance with workplace regulations and record keeping.
The new Standard will allow franchise buyers to search for compliant franchisors as part of their due diligence.
Frandata Australia CEO Darryn McAuliffe said "Recent events have caused the franchise sector to reflect upon the respective roles of franchisors and franchisees in the context of workplace compliance.”
McAuliffe said the new Standard codifies industry expectations and highlights that workplace compliance is not just the responsibility of franchisors; franchisees have fundamental obligations as the employer and operator of the franchised businesses.
What do franchisors have to sign up to?
Under the Standard franchisors are expected to certify in respect of all of their franchisees to the following seven points:
- they have provided training to all franchisees in relation to relevant workplace laws;
- workplace information is contained in the operations or procedures manual provided to all franchisees, and such information is kept up to date;
- a hotline and/or nominated a point of contact for workplace enquires from employees of the franchisor is also available to all employees of all franchisees;
- they have required all franchisees to provide the details of the hotline and/or point of contact to all new employees of franchisees on commencement of employment, and to all existing employees of franchisees in writing at least once in each financial year
- they will monitor compliance with applicable Commonwealth workplace laws by all franchisees as part of normal operational and field audits and inspections;
- they will require any franchisee to take appropriate remedial action to rectify any identified contraventions of such laws or instruments in the event that they become aware of any breach by a franchisee of the franchisee's obligations as an employer; and
- they will notify Fair Work Australia of any serious breach of Commonwealth workplace laws by any franchisee.
The release of the Workplace Transparency Standard comes at a time when both the Government and the Opposition are seeking to beef up the legislative protection provided to vulnerable workers, and provide extra enforcement and investigative resources to Fair Work Australia.
Registration and the publicly accessible search function can be accessed online through www.thefranchiseregistry.com.au.