Last year we provided an update regarding the issues the 7-Eleven franchise network’s suffered as a result of the failures of a number of its franchisee’s meeting their employer obligations. These issues have been an ongoing saga for the network, where following the Fair Work Ombudsman’s further investigations, the Fair Work Ombudsman has now published a Proactive Compliance Deed signed by 7-Eleven’s Franchisor on 6 December 2016.
In what many are calling a landmark agreement, 7-Eleven’s Franchisor have now agreed to a number of measures to seek to prevent a re-occurrence of the issues that have plagued this network and instead promote a culture of compliance with relevant employment laws amongst all within their network.
Some of these measures include:
These are substantial measures to meet what we suggest are the growing community expectations on franchisors.
Saying this, we suggest that the 7-Eleven situation was in many ways unique and the measures now being taken are the result of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s belief that 7-Eleven had “a culture of underpayment and false records that had become normalised in its network” and that by failing to “recognise the need for additional financial support for some stores…these factors contributed to the exploitation of vulnerable workers.”
Given the above, as the new Year starts, if you have not already, this is a prime time for review and consideration of your risk exposures and what improvements should be implemented to create positive internal cultures and get ahead of the potential legal obligations that may be implemented as a result of what happened with 7-Eleven.
Please note this does not purport to be comprehensive advice relevant to your circumstances. Consequently, specific legal advice for each of your circumstances should be obtained first before taking or not taking any action in respect to this area.