Fair Work Ombudsman Targets the Fast Food, Restaurant and Café Industries
On Monday, 3 June 209 the Fair Work Ombudsman, Ms Sandra Parker, announced FWO’s priorities for 2019 – 2020, altering the agency’s public image from mediator to regulator. Law enforcement and adherence to Australian industrial relations laws are the top priorities, with a strong focus on targeting “priority industries” which include the Fast Food, Restaurant and Café industries, and Franchisors.
The FWO intends to enforce industrial laws by issuing compliance notices, and also announced that if these notices are not complied with, the FWO won’t be shy in seeking monetary penalties through the Court system.
In its stronger approach to enforcement, the FWO stated that it will use its powers to publicly name (and thus shame) employers who are not complying with their obligations to employees.
Going forward, the FWO made it clear that if an organisation is found to have underpaid its employees – regardless of whether or not it self-reported the underpayments – it will require the organisation to provide the FWO with an enforceable undertaking. Effectively, this means that an organisation will be required to provide the FWO with a written assurance that it will rectify the breach. The FWO has made it clear that it will also require an organisation to meet the costs of verifying that the breach has been rectified.
Ms Parker noted: “For anyone that considers our approach in these circumstances to be too tough, I can assure you, that the consequences for those businesses that see a problem but don’t come forward will be far more significant”.
It is clear that the gloves have come off for FY20 and the FWO is committed to shaking off any perception that they will stand by and let blatant disregard for Australian laws continue. “If you are in one of our priority industries, operate a franchise system or employ a large number of migrant workers, you should expect to hear from us”