Following the introduction of the Vulnerable Workers legislation in late 2017, franchisors, licensors and other holding companies are now responsible for the treatment of “vulnerable” workers, including workers who are not their own direct employees.
So, what has the impact been in practical terms?
Since the regime commenced, we have seen an increase in the rigour and complexity of pre-engagement requirements being imposed on prospective contractors and suppliers to large operators such as supermarket chains and retailers.
These commonly take the form of comprehensive audits which prospective contractors must complete as a pre-requisite for tendering for work. These audits are to establish that both the contractor, and any sub-contractors they may engage, comply all applicable workplace obligations.
We have conducted a number of these audits as they require an independent third party to assess the prospective contracting business’s records and workplace policies and procedures in detail, to determine whether they are complying and ensuring that no risk is passed onto the principal company. Such audit requirements may, in many cases, be too expensive and onerous for smaller operators to satisfy.
Businesses who are required to complete such audits are encouraged to engage an expert and trusted auditor to process the information quickly and accurately, allowing for any adjustments in practices to be implemented well ahead of submission deadlines.