Following the Coalition claiming the Federal Election, the new
Government may consider it has a mandate to seek to legislate for
the "Protect Vulnerable Workers" policy which was
developed following the high profiled 7-eleven scandal.
On 11 April 2016, the Fair Work Commission released a report
regarding 7-eleven which found that franchisees had:
been unpaying workers;
deliberately falsified records to camouflage underpayment of
threatened to report migrants workers who had been working in
excess of the hours allowed by their visa when they complained
about the irregularities in their pay.
The Coalition Government is now expected to implement the
following reforms to the Fair Work Act in response to exploitation
increase penalties by ten fold for employers who intentionally
and systematically underpay employees and fail to keep current
records. The current penalties are $10,800 per breach for a natural
person or $54,000 per breach for a corporation;
introduce new offences for employers who pay the correct wage
but then force the employee to repay a portion of this wage in
introduce new offences and liability for franchisors and
holding companies for failing to deal with the exploitation of the
employees, where they should have been alerted to a breach of the
Fair Work Act and could have reasonably prevented those
These changes are significant as the current Fair Work
Act sets a high threshold for assessorial liability which has
historically prevented prosecution of franchisors. If these
policies are implemented, franchisors will no longer be able to
turn a blind eye to the indiscretions of their franchisees.
Other policies which will affect franchisors and are expected be
the creation of a 'Migrant Workers Taskforce' which
would seek to focus on the exploitation of migrant workers by
Australian employers; and
increase funding to the Fair Work Commission by $20
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An employee that refused a reasonable offer of settlement was ordered by the FWC to pay his ex-employer's legal costs.
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