What a heartbreaking fortnight it has been for so many of you on the east coast of Australia. We have seen family homes, local schools, roads and local businesses decimated in many communities throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
We want to iterate that we are here to assist those of you who’ve been affected in any way we can, including expert legal advice on issues like how to pay your employees when your shop is forced to close due to a natural disaster, and to point you toward relevant disaster assistance (see here for QLD, see here for NSW, see here for VIC) to find out if your business is eligible.
Earlier this week, I met with the Minister for Employment, the Hon Michaelia Cash MP, to again outline our serious concerns about new provisions in the Vulnerable Workers Bill, ahead of appearing, alongside NRA Legal Director Troy Wild, at a Senate Enquiry next week.
We will continue highlighting just how damaging these provisions (albeit well-intentioned) could be for the entire franchising system. They are a step too far, and we believe they will only serve to punish an entire industry for the mistakes of a few.
The provisions serve to make franchisors responsible for the underpayment of labour within their franchisee network, potentially forcing franchisees (the clear majority of whom are doing the right thing) to fund systems to prove their own compliance.
This is sure to add significant expense and complexity to franchise business models, and could result in requirements for businesses to police each other, instigate expensive and time-consuming auditing processes, and erode the important relationships between franchisors and franchisees.
We know that the overwhelming majority of franchisors dedicate great time and effort to maintaining good relationships with their franchisees, and protecting their own brand with robust and maintainable processes.
If the Vulnerable Workers Bill is passed, a franchise group could be hit with fines of up to $54,000 for every instance of underpayment by a franchisee, and similarly, the penalty for a franchisee (individual), when a serious contravention is established, will increase from $10,800 to $108,000, and for a body corporate franchisee, from $54,000 to $540,000.
More regulation and red tape is rarely the answer to any issue, and generally creates more problems that it fixes, and we believe this move will only serve to deter entrepreneurs from considering franchising as an option, and deter job creation in one of the most important sectors in the Australian economy – retail.
Lastly – as a registered training organisation (RTO) our Training and Development team has helped retailers of all sizes access specialised knowledge and industry-related expertise in order to grow their businesses, and we’re now about to expand out offerings under the Federal Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH, which is a flexible new approach to preparing youth for employment.
Interns who complete Employability Skills Training (EST) with the NRA (which gives them the opportunity to gain the skills they need for a retail career) can then be placed with an eligible employer, who is able to trial a young person in an internship for between four and 12 weeks to see how they fit, and if they’re suitable for ongoing employment.
We’ll be rolling out more information on this scheme over the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I want to wish all of you have been impacted by the recent catastrophic weather in any way, shape or form a speedy recovery. If you have any questions or require further assistance the NRA is only a phone call away on 1800 738 245.
Have a great week