McDonald’s continues to show its commitment to young workers

10 October 2016 

McDonald’s Australia continues to demonstrate its commitment to excellent workplace practices at its restaurants, achieving outstanding compliance rates over the past two years.

The company makes workplace compliance a high priority, and signed the Fair Work Ombudsman’s first Compliance Partnership in 2011.

The first Partnership was a success, with McDonald’s self-auditing about 8500 pay packets to reveal 100 per cent compliance for wages paid in 2009 and 97 per cent 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 Fair Work Ombudsman to refer requests for assistance it receives from McDonald’s employees back to the company for resolution internally, to the satisfaction of the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James revealed today 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 per cent 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 Fair Work Ombudsman’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.”

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:

  • 10 matters were voluntarily rectified with a total $33,619 paid to employees;
  • nine matters were found not to be sustained;
  • two matters were resolved without the need for payments to be made; and
  • one former employee who alleged a mobile phone was stolen was advised to contact the police.

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.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website – www.fairwork.gov.au – has a range of resources employers can use to ensure they are meeting their obligations under workplace laws.

Resources to assist employers wanting to work at best practices are also available, such as an Online Learning Centre with interactive courses and Best Practice Guides on a range of topics, including hiring young workers.

Employers and employees who have any uncertainty or questions about their workplace rights and obligations are encouraged to visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for advice. Small business employers calling the Infoline can opt to receive priority service through the Small Business Helpline.

Follow Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James on Twitter @NatJamesFWO external-icon.png, the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au External link icon or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/fairwork.gov.au External link icon.

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at www.fairwork.gov.au/mediareleases.

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Media inquiries:

Bryan Littlely, Assistant Director, Media
Mobile: 0447 692 007
bryan.littlely@fwo.gov.au

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