FWO Natalie James will today tell the Franchising Council of Australia’s national convention that in an environment of increasing scrutiny of franchises, McDonald’s is staying “ahead of the curve” by publicly demonstrating its strong commitment to compliance.
McDonald’s Australia continues to demonstrate its commitment to excellent workplace practices at its restaurants, achieving outstanding compliance rates over the past two years, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), with whom the company’s first signed a compliance partnership in 2011.
The first partnership was a success, with McDonald’s self-auditing about 8500 pay packets to reveal 100% compliance for wages paid in 2009 and 97% for wages paid in 2010.
A second compliance partnership was commenced in 2014, with McDonald’s committing to continue to review and evolve their systems and exploring ways to further improve the way it manages its workplace relations.
The second partnership also included an agreement for the FWO to refer requests for assistance it receives from McDonald’s employees back to the company for resolution internally, to the satisfaction of the FWO.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James has revealed that out of McDonald’s national workforce of about 100,000 workers, her Agency received just 33 requests for assistance in the two years ending in June, 2016.
Only 10 of the requests resulted in a finding that a worker needed to be back-paid.
Ms James will today tell the Franchising Council of Australia’s national convention that in an environment of increasing scrutiny of franchises, McDonald’s is staying “ahead of the curve” by publicly demonstrating its strong commitment to compliance.
Ms James says the results achieved by McDonald’s were particularly commendable given 85% of its workers are aged under 22.
“We know that people starting out in the workforce can be unaware of the rules and less likely to challenge the boss if they think something isn’t right,” she said.
“It’s worth noting that in contrast to what we’ve seen from McDonald’s, young people are generally over-represented in the FWO’s complaints. One in every four requests for assistance we receive comes from a person under the age of 25.
“So it’s an extraordinarily low number of McDonald’s employees who are raising concerns.
“McDonald’s has put a range of steps in place – auditing of its franchises, an employee hotline, state of the art time recording to ensure that workers get paid for every hour they work.
“McDonald’s didn’t wait for workplace compliance issues to blow up in their face – they were proactive in their engagement with us.
“This is an approach to be congratulated and we think this will pay dividends for the business, its franchisees, its employees and the community,” Ms James concluded.
McDonald’s Australia Director of People and Culture, Hayley Baxendale, says complying with legal obligations and always striving for continuous improvement are essential parts of the company’s values.
“As an employer of more than 100,000 people, and Australia’s largest employer of youth, we know we have a great responsibility to ensure our employees are being paid correctly with appropriate working conditions,” Ms Blaxendale said.
“Our partnership with the Fair Work Ombudsman highlights our commitment to continuous improvement and ongoing transparency.”
Of the 33 requests for assistance from McDonald’s employees received in the two years to June, 2016, the Fair Work Ombudsman determined that no further action was required in relation to 11 of the matters.
Of the 22 requests referred to McDonald’s for review:
McDonald’s provides full annual reports on all matters it handles to the Fair Work Ombudsman, including the number of complaints, the time taken to resolve them and any underpayments rectified.
All McDonald’s employees have been advised of the initiative via the company’s internal website.
Ms James says the Fair Work Ombudsman is keen to work with businesses that want to make compliance with workplace laws part of their brand.
“With the Government proposing new laws to capture franchisors that fail to deal with exploitation of workers by their franchisees, the Fair Work Ombudsman would be pleased to work with any franchise ready to take action to show it takes compliance with workplace laws throughout its network seriously,” she said.
Other franchises to enter into Compliance Partnerships with the Fair Work Ombudsman include La Porchetta, Dominos, JB Hifi, the Coffee Club and Breadtop.