7-Eleven and changes to the Fair Work Act
Fair Work Act changes
Following the record penalties of $532,000 ordered in the recent 7-Eleven scandal involving exploitation of workers and underpayment of wages, new laws have passed late last year to amend the Fair Work Act (Act) to:
- Increase the maximum civil penalties for serious contraventions of the Act;
- Increase penalties for record-keeping failures;
- Hold franchisors and holding companies responsible for certain contraventions of the Act by their franchisees or subsidiaries;
- Clarify that employers are prohibited from demanding their employees pay back a proportion of their wages;
- Provide the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) with evidence-gathering powers similar to those available to the ACCC and ASIC;
- Prohibit the hindering or obstruction of the FWO in the performance of its functions; and
- Prohibit the giving of false or misleading information or documents.
The 7-Eleven case revealed deliberate and systematic underpayment of migrant workers, and also a practice of some franchisees paying their employees the lawful rate, but then coercing them to pay back a certain proportion of their wages to the employer in cash.
Don’t fall into the same boat as 7-Eleven, contact an employment solicitor.
Given the fallout from the 7-Eleven case, and the proposed changes to the Fair Work Act, it to be timely to ensure your employment agreements are up to date and enforceable.
While you may already have Employment Agreements in place, they may be:
- Not up to date, and unenforceable;
- Exposing your client to liability.
Our employment solicitors have assisted many of our clients in updating their employment agreements to account for the ever-changing landscape that is industrial relations. We can review your employment agreements to ensure they are up to date and enforceable.