POSITIVE POLICY

Protecting Rights At Work

Labor will ensure franchisors cannot turn a blind eye to exploitation of workers by their franchisees, building on our package of measures to protect rights at work.

Labor will allow workers to pursue franchisors for wage underpayments, unless the franchisor can prove they could not have reasonably known or were not reasonably aware of the breaches.

The franchisor will be given power to pursue the franchisee for those underpayments. Labor will also amend the franchising code to impose an obligation on the franchisor to take reasonable steps to assist franchisees in compliance with labour standards under the Fair Work Act.

A Shorten Labor Government will also increase the penalty for employers who rip off workers. The Fair Work Commission will be able to impose penalties which are three times the amount of the underpayment or $108,000 per breach (600 penalty units) for a natural person or $540,000 for a corporation (3,000 penalty units), whichever is greater.  

Labor will also provide $22.5 million in additional resources to the Fair Work Ombudsman to pursue cases of exploitation.

Additionally, following the exposure of the questionable legality of the Turnbull Government’s exploitative Youth PaTH program, a Shorten Labor Government will also focus on preventing the exploitation of interns.

Labor will work with business, employer groups, unions and Interns Australia to develop a definition of what constitutes an internship, ensuring people who are working in real jobs are being paid real wages, whilst retaining real opportunities for on the job training.

We will also work with those stakeholders on proposals to ensure unpaid internships are not being used by businesses to replace real jobs.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Youth team will be allocated a further $2.4 million to ensure young people working as interns are not being ripped off.

For three years the Abbott-Turnbull Government had the chance to legislate changes to ensure workers do not get ripped off. They failed to do that and their election policy is a hollow attempt to trick Australians into believing they care about protecting Australian workers.

Only Labor can be trusted to stand up for the wages and conditions of workers in Australia, and only Labor will protect Australian families from Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals’ plan to undercut Australians’ wages and conditions.

Read the full fact sheet for more information on Labor's plan.