Retail Zoo Group in new partnership
8 September 2014
The Retail Zoo Group is the latest major franchisor to sign up to a Pro-active Compliance Deed (PCD) with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Retail Zoo Pty Ltd is the holding company of the Boost Juice Bars, Salsas Fresh Mex, Cibo Espresso and Hatch Chicken Shop group of companies, primarily focused on preparation and sale of retail food in the quick service restaurant industry.
It oversees almost 300 company-owned and franchise stores throughout Australia which employ more than 5000 workers.
Retail Zoo approached the Fair Work Ombudsman this year with a view to demonstrating its commitment to comply with workplace laws as part of its goal of becoming an employer of choice.
Under the terms of the PCD, it must develop systems and processes to ensure ongoing compliance with Commonwealth workplace legislation.
The company will also undertake self-auditing of its employment records to ensure employees are receiving their full entitlements.
Self-audits will look at wages, loadings, allowances and penalties and include a mix of full-time, part-time and casual employees where possible.
Franchisees will be actively encouraged to undertake their own self-assessments as well, and the Fair Work Ombudsman will be notified of any outlets which decline.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has received a small number of complaints relating to Retail Zoo brand stores over the past few years, but all were resolved without the need for enforcement action.
Under the terms of the Deed, the Fair Work Ombudsman has agreed to refer any new complaints it receives to Retail Zoo to allow the company to liaise with franchisees and resolve them at the workplace level.
It has, however, reserved the right to investigate matters considered to be serious or in the public interest.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James today acknowledged Retail Zoo’s positive and co-operative approach, saying it showed corporate responsibility to a large number of employees.
Ms James says it is heartening to see companies which recognise the importance of great relationships with staff.
“Pro-active Compliance Deeds facilitate better communication between employers and employees, as well as strengthening the co-operation and working arrangements between employers and ourselves,” she said.
“The Deeds are a valuable way for us to engage with employers who want to do the right thing and we commend Retail Zoo for taking the extra step of joining up.
“This Deed is an example of how the Fair Work Ombudsman continues to look for ways to assist employers and employees to be able to put good practices in place that can assist people to resolve issues in the workplace themselves.
“Employers who care about their reputation should be doing these sorts of things.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman also runs a National Franchise Program (NFP) to encourage big franchisors to enhance their brand by publicly supporting fair workplaces.
Ms James said those participating in the NFP receive free resources to educate their franchisees and advice on how to best promote compliance with workplace laws across their network.
“They are demonstrating their commitment to corporate responsibility and sending out a message that they value the rights of their large and diverse workforces,” she said.
There are also a range of tools and resources for small business people available on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website at www.fairwork.gov.au/smallbusiness
Employers and employees seeking assistance should visit the website or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.
Ms James says the Fair Work Ombudsman is making compliance easier for businesses by continually building on the information available on its website.
“Small businesses often don’t have the benefit of in-house human resources and payroll staff, so we place a high priority on assisting them,” she said.
“Equipping people with the information they need helps to create fair and productive workplaces, as well as ensuring a level playing field for all.”
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s small business helpline – which launched in December to provide tailored advice to small business people – has now responded to more than 100,000 calls.
Small businesses can sign up to a regular E-newsletter from the Fair Work Ombudsman with helpful workplace tips and information.
Tom McPherson, Media Adviser
Mobile: 0439 835 855