As part of a raft of new reforms, all company directors will require a unique identification number tha twill link them to their directorship. Hitch Advisory explains more below. Read More
Hot on the tail of last year’s changes to the Franchising Code of Conduct aimed at improving transparency and protection to franchisees within the franchising industry, the Federal Government also passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.6) Bill 2021 which amongst other things results in significant increases in penalties for contraventions of the Franchising Code of Conduct.
Currently there is a major focus on the rights and obligations of employers to consider mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for their workforce (particularly those in Sydney and Melbourne). The situation evolves constantly. With the recent announcement that SPC has imposed a mandatory Covid-19 vaccine regime on all manufacturing plant workers and pertinent comments from the Prime Minister and Cabinet, all businesses need to reconsider what is right for their workplace.
In February 2019, the Federal Court found car detailing and cleaning franchisor Geowash Pty Ltd in breach of numerous obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. Geowash was ordered to pay $4.2 million in penalties, including individual penalties of $1.045 million against Geowash’s director, and $656,000 against Geowash’s franchising manager. The ACCC began investigating Geowash in 2015 and subsequently launched legal proceedings when it was deemed Geowash was making false and misleading representations and acting unconscionably towards its franchisees.
In contravention of the Franchising Code of Conduct, both the director and franchising manager were ordered to pay a further $1 million as partial redress to franchisees and were subsequently disqualified from managing corporations in Australia for a period of five and four years respectively. They jointly appealed this decision in 2021.
The dismissal of front-line care workers who refused the flu vaccination in 2020 has recently been upheld in three separate Fair Work Commission (FWC) decisions. In each case the dismissed employee was working directly with vulnerable and often immunocompromised individuals and as a result employers made flu vaccination mandatory. In each situation the FWC decided that the mandating of the vaccine was a lawful and reasonable direction meaning failure to comply was valid reason for dismissal.
Importantly, in each case employees were given ample time to consider their position and determine whether they would comply with the direction or object to vaccination. In all three cases the employees objected by claiming medical exemption to receipt of the vaccine, specifically that the flu vaccination had medical contraindications (all of which were unsubstantiated).
After years in the making, the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes-Franchising) Amendment (Fairness in Franchising) Regulations 2021 was passed today, 1 June 2021, which amends the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes – Franchising) Regulation 2014, commonly known as the Franchising Code of Conduct (Code).
Despite delays, the Government has kept the 1 July 2021 commencement date for the majority of the substantive changes, leaving very little time for franchisors to get their house in order. The new dispute resolution procedure kicks in even earlier, from 2 June 2021.