While many workplaces and employees are focussed on just surviving Covid19 and lockdowns, it is vital that employers are also focussed on continuing to ensure that they are meeting their obligations to their employees, notwithstanding the pandemic.
A prime example of what can happen if obligations are not complied with is the Fair Work Ombudsman’s (FWO) inquiry and compliance partnership with 7-Eleven following the significant underpayments that were discovered within their franchise operations.
Since September 2015, 7-Eleven Stores Pty Ltd has worked with the FWO to ensure their compliance, and in the process have back-paid $173,610,752 in wages, interest and superannuation to over 4,000 current and former employees of their franchisees. They have also implemented more rigorous procedures, including fingerprint and facial recognition when employees clock on and off, to ensure the employees are not being underpaid for the hours they are working.
The FWO has also sent out a timely reminder that franchisors are also responsible for the compliance of their franchisees, so it is important to ensure that business have systems in place that support compliance at all levels.
This is also a reminder that the FWO is not taking time off during the pandemic, and will continue to investigate and penalise employers who are not meeting their obligations.
If you need assistance in reviewing your employment compliance, or any other aspect of your workplace documentation, please contact our Workplace law team.