Ai Group has made a submission to the Federal Government seeking an important amendment to the Franchising Code of Conduct to preserve fairness for businesses, given the passage of the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 through Parliament. The Franchising Code of Conduct is a mandatory industry code under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Franchisors have significant new responsibilities for breaches of workplace laws and instruments by their franchisees under the amendments recently made to the Fair Work Act. In its submission, Ai Group expressed the view that it would be unfair to impose these new obligations upon franchisors without giving them the ability to terminate contracts with franchisees who knowingly and systematically breach workplace relations laws and instruments. At present, the Franchising Code of Conduct severely limits the ability of a franchisor to terminate a contract with a franchisee, even in circumstances where a franchisee deliberately and systematically breaches workplace laws and instruments.

This problem could be readily addressed with an appropriate amendment to clause 29 (Termination – special circumstances) of the Code. The amendment that Ai Group has proposed would preserve strong protections for franchisees, while giving franchisors the ability to take action against a franchisee when the franchisee is deliberately and systematically underpaying its employees.

If you would like more information complying with the Vulnerable Workers Act, please contact Ai Group’s Workplace Advice Service on 1300 55 66 77.

Alternatively, please contact your local employment, workplace and industrial lawyer in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne or Brisbane or email Ai Group Workplace Lawyers at info@aigroupworkplacelawyers.com.au.

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