Greens industrial relations spokesperson Adam Bandt MP this week gave notice of a bill that will help prevent widespread worker exploitation in franchises like that recently reported in 7-Eleven stores across the country. The bill will make head office franchisors responsible for their franchisees’ underpayments. 

“Something is wrong with our system when the boss of 7-Eleven is a billionaire but its workers are getting paid under $10 an hour and threatened with deportation,” Mr Bandt said. 

  “We’ve also heard reports that suggest this kind of widespread worker exploitation doesn’t end with 7-Eleven.”

 “If head offices can enter into franchise contracts then turn a blind eye to what happens in their stores, workers can get exploited.”

 “When it comes to stopping underpayments, prevention is better than cure.”

 “By allowing workers to claim any underpayments directly from head office, this law will help bring about a culture shift."

 "Instead of leaving it to vulnerable workers to uphold the law through expensive legal action, head offices would take more responsibility for what goes on in the stores that carry their name.

 “This change to the law would also help stamp out the practice of unfair contracts, where franchisors effectively force franchisees to underpay workers if the business is to make a profit.

  “This law will make things fairer for the workers and fairer for the small business franchise operator.”

   "The head office could still pursue the franchisee for the amount of any underpayment, but they'd have an extra incentive for ensuring the underpayment didn't happen in the first place."

The Fair Work Amendment (Recovery of Unpaid Amounts for Franchisee Employees) Bill 2015 is a Private Member’s Bill that will be moved by Adam Bandt MP in the House of Representatives during the next time Parliament sits. Mr Bandt will give notice of the motion later today.