Protecting and Promoting an Unrivalled Business Model
One of the many fantastic aspects of franchising is that it represents a diverse range of industries, from quick service restaurants to health and fitness businesses, petrol and convenience stores to administration and support services and everything in between.
The largest proportion of franchise brands belong to the retail (non-food) industry, with more than a quarter of franchises operating in this space, and a further 19 per cent of franchise brands falling into the food services and accommodation category. For the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA), that means an active involvement in consultations and discussions on issues that affect retailers as lessees (particularly in shopping centres) and as employers.
Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017
The issue of franchisees as employers has been a major legislative focus over the past couple of years, with the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 coming into force late in 2017.
Speaking at the FCA’s National Franchise Convention 2017, Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) Natalie James told more than 400 delegates that under the new laws franchisees retain the primary responsibility for complying with their workplace obligations, but franchisors have a clear role to play in ensuring compliance and preventing deliberate exploitation of workers within their networks.
Resources are available on the FWO website at www.fairwork.gov.au to help both franchisees and franchisors understand their obligations and responsibilities under these new laws, and the FCA is continuing to work with the FWO to ensure the franchise sector has access to further compliance resources.
Retail leasing and the Casual Mall Licensing Code of Practice (the Code)
With such a large representation of franchise brands in the retail space, the Franchise Council of Australia is actively engaged in consultations and discussions on retail leasing, often in conjunction with other peak bodies that represent retailers in their membership.
Any franchisee with a bricks and mortar store invests heavily in their retail space. It is therefore imperative that franchisees’ businesses are protected, particularly in shopping centres where there is a marked power imbalance between landlords and their retail tenants.
In recent times, the FCA has worked in conjunction with our industry partners, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA), to engage with State Ministers responsible for Small Business, and the State Small Business Commissions around the issue of retail leasing regarding the review of state-based Retail Leasing legislation.
These bodies have also been involved in a review of the voluntary Casual Mall Licensing Code of Practice (the Code) applies to shopping centre owners and managers who agree to become signatories. It regulates the terms on which participating shopping centres will grant casual licences to temporary retailers such as ‘pop-up’ shops.
The Code was reviewed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) during 2017. In a joint submission as part of the review, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), the FCA and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) did not support re-authorisation of the Code (without amendment). Primarily these bodies held the view that the Code is currently not administered and governed well, particularly with casual mall leases increasing to drive additional tenancy income.
At the time of writing the ACCC was seeking submissions from the public in response to the draft determination before making a final determination on the reauthorisation of the Code until 31 December 2020.
2018 FCA Regional Excellence in Franchising Awards are now open
Franchising drives economic and entrepreneurial success in a way that no other model has, and no other model can. And none of this would be possible without the endeavour and commitment of more than tens of thousands of franchisees across the nation.
In 2017, the FCA recognised outstanding franchisees across a diverse range of sectors as our national winners of the MYOB FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards. Ryan Willsher of Finn Franchise Brokers, North Perth and Regional WA, came out on top in two categories, being named the 2017 Multi-Unit Franchisee of the Year and winner of the 2017 Franchisee Community Responsibility and Contribution Award.
“Winning these Awards means a lot for both me and my team, but also our brand. It will definitely help us win business. People will trust us more and it will give us a lot of credibility,” Ryan said of his Awards success. In 2018, we are looking to unearth more franchisee success stories and provide these franchisees with the recognition and promotional opportunities that Ryan and his fellow Award winners had in 2017.
We know that as small business owners, franchisees are focussed on their day-to-day operations and on how they can continue to reach sales goals. The opportunity to sit back and reflect on their achievements is all too rare.
The FCA’s Regional Excellence in Franchising Awards provide the chance to better understand your company through an up-to-date business health check and judges’ feedback, and can provide direct marketing exposure you cannot afford to miss. If you’re a successful franchisee looking to take your business to even greater heights, success at the Regional Excellence in Franchising Awards could be just the catalyst you need. To find out more and to enter the Awards, visit www.franchise.org.au/awards-2018