Changes to workplace laws for franchisors and holding companies

On 27 October 2017, new laws relating to franchisors and holding companies took effect.

These laws (liability provisions) mean that franchisors and holding companies can be held responsible if their franchisees or subsidiaries don’t follow workplace laws (if they knew or should have known and could have prevented it).

These changes are part of the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017. Most of the changes (such as those relating to 'serious contraventions', increased penalties, pay slips and record-keeping, and our powers in investigations) took effect on 15 September 2017. Read about these changes on our protecting vulnerable workers reform page.

The new liability provisions took effect on 27 October 2017.

If you’re a franchisor or holding company, find out:

What do the changes mean for you?

The changes apply to franchisors that have a significant amount of influence or control over the business affairs of the franchisee. Holding companies have control over the affairs of their subsidiaries by definition.

You could be held responsible if your franchisees or subsidiaries don’t follow workplace laws about:

You could be liable for breaches or underpayments if:

  • you knew (or could have reasonably known) that a franchisee or subsidiary wasn’t following workplace laws
  • you didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent it.  

Where can you find more information?

You can minimise your legal and reputational risks by helping your franchisees and subsidiaries understand and meet their responsibilities.

Visit our updated Help for Franchises section to find out:

  • when you can be held responsible
  • how you can help your franchisees enable, support and monitor compliance.

Encourage your franchisees and subsidiaries to:

Accessorial liability provisions still apply if you're found to be 'involved in' a contravention. Read about the differences between accessorial, franchisor and holding company liability.

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