The Fair Work Ombudsman will target big employers and franchisors via a new National Employer Branch.
Speaking at a Workplace Research Centre conference in Sydney, Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson cited the example of a retailer with 3,000 employees in 500 stores nationally, which was not paying people for training sessions and meetings. This was despite what he described as a “fulsome code of conduct” for potential employees on its website promising to give workers their rights, including paid time off for training. The problem had been rectified, workers paid and an enforceable undertaking was under negotiation.
“In our experience, this systematic non-compliance by a major national employer is by no means an isolated case,” he said.
It was with this in mind that the Fair Work Ombudsman would create the employer branch to focus exclusively on large, national enterprises and franchise operations. It will be headed by Fair Work Ombudsman chief counsel and executive director of strategic development Leigh Johns. The branch’s role would be to provide advice and assistance rather than compliance. “It is not our intention to do all the work for the employer, and especially not for a national employer that has the resources for good advice, but to guide them through the process,” Wilson said.
Source: Thomson Reuters Workforce news, 1 April 2010.