On 15 September 2017 the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 took effect. It makes important changes to the Fair Work Act 2009. These changes potentially affect all businesses but in particular those in franchising or licensing or distribution.
The following article is intended to be a brief summary to alert you to the issues. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Every employer (and every franchisor or holding company of an employer) should consider the impact on its business and seek its own legal advice.
5 September 2017 – Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017 is passed by Parliament after a long period of debate, media attention and lobbying.
15 September 2017 –Bill comes into effect as law amending Fair Work Act – most of the new laws and changes apply from this date (but are not generally retrospective).
27 October 2017 – changes to Act affecting liability of franchisors and holding companies (s558B) become effective.
WHO DO THE CHANGES AFFECT?
All employers (and those managers or advisors involved in workplace law compliance of a business) but additional liability for:
- Holding companies of subsidiaries that are employers.
- Franchisors (which includes certain licensors) of franchisees who are employers (note the definition of a ‘franchise’ here is wider than under the Franchising Code).
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES NOW AFFECTING ALL EMPLOYERS?
1. Serious contraventions introduced with increased penalties
2. Record keeping contraventions
3. Unreasonable deductions and payments from wages
4. New powers for Fair Work Ombudsman
WHAT ADDITIONAL CHANGES AFFECT FRANCHISORS AND LICENSORS?
Potential additional liability for contraventions by franchisees and licensees for anyone considered a ‘responsible franchisor entity”.
WHAT ADDITIONAL CHANGES AFFECT HOLDING COMPANIES?
Potential additional liability for contraventions by subsidiaries.
To further understand the changes that affect all employers including franchisors, changes to the liability of holding companies and what you should be doing now, please continue reading by clicking here.