Earlier this month, The Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 passed both houses of parliament. When the Bill comes into force, employers, franchisors and holding companies will face significantly higher penalties if they contravene the pay slip and reporting obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009.

Under these new laws, Franchisors will come under more scrutiny and may be held responsible if their subsidiaries have not followed workplace laws. The Bill will also strengthen the investigative powers of the Fair Work Ombudsman and will impose new penalties for misleading or obstructing the investigation.

The Bill is part of a response to the Inquiry into 7-Eleven report, which not only revealed systematic underpayment of migrant workers, but also a practise of franchisees paying their employees the legal rate and then coercing them to pay back a portion of their wages in cash.

In effect, the Bill widens the bite and sharpens the teeth of the employment law watchdog.

Get in touch with the employment law experts at Rankin & Co to understand your obligations as an employer or franchisor and how the recent amendment affects you.