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Published: 27 January 2017
Author: Sebastian O'Meara
Another large employer operating under a franchisee structure has been taking advantage of vulnerable workers. This time it’s Pizza Hut that the Fair Work Ombudsman has caught underpaying its workers.
The audit by the Ombudsman found that 24 of 33 franchisees investigated were in breach of workplace laws. Only two were meeting their obligations to delivery staff. Drivers were not paid the minimum legal wage. Some were paid as little as $5.70 per hour, while also having to pay their own laundry expenses.
The similarities are striking.
It’s mainly younger workers, migrants and overseas students who’ve been exploited. Employees such as these are often unaware of their basic workplace rights and entitlements, and many are too scared to complain to their employers or take legal action because of concerns regarding their visa status.
In the systemic underpayment cases that have been revealed in recent times involving franchisee employers, head office usually denies knowing what was occurring within their franchisees, and will be seen to take action only after the public spotlight has been cast on its operations.
There certainly appears to be a pattern here, and in that sense the ongoing scrutiny from the public and the Fair Work Ombudsman is a welcome development.
If you do work for a franchise and suspect you are being underpaid, you should report your issue to the Fair Work Ombudsman or seek legal advice. The Fair Work Ombudsman will not take on every case, and will only litigate some, but it may be able to offer you some preliminary assistance and give you some idea as to what your options are.
Otherwise, we can help with a free 30-minute consultation on any employment law matter.
If you'd like to make an enquiry about a legal matter, talk about a career at RCT, or perhaps have a suggestion on how we can improve our service or even our website, we'd like to hear from you.
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