Fast food chain “ahead of the curve” on workplace compliance


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Fast food chain McDonalds – Australia’s largest employer of youth – is being heralded by Fair Work Australia for its high compliance rates and low number of employees raising concerns about wages.

McDonald’s signed the Fair Work Ombudsman’s first Compliance Partnership in 2011, which involved self-auditing more than 8000 pay packets, showing 100% compliance for wages paid in 2009 and 97% for wages paid in 2010.

The company signed a second Compliance Partnership in 2014, in which time Fair Work Australia received just 33 requests for assistance out of McDonald’s national workforce totalling 100,000.

Of these, Fair Work Australia determined no further action was required for 11 of the matters. Of the 22 requests referred to McDonald’s for review, just 10 of the requests resulted in a finding that a worker needed to be back-paid.

Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, commends McDonald’s for the results, given 85% of its workers are aged under 22.

“It’s worth noting that in contrast to what we’ve seen from McDonald’s, young people are generally over-represented in the Fair Work Ombudsman’s complaints. One in every four requests for assistance we receive comes from a person under the age of 25,” James notes.

“So it’s an extraordinarily low number of McDonald’s employees who are raising concerns.”

James reveals McDonald’s has put a range of steps in place including the auditing of its franchises, an employee hotline and 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.”

Fair Work Australia highlights other franchises to enter into Compliance Partnerships with the Fair Work Ombudsman include La Porchetta, Dominos, JB Hi-Fi, the Coffee Club and Breadtop.

According to James, the Fair Work Ombudsman is keen to 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.”

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