Retail Zoo boosts compliance following FWO partnership

By Nick Hall | 16 Nov 2018 View comments

Retail Zoo, the company behind franchise chains Boost Juice, Cibo Espresso and Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill has been praised by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in a new report released today.

The Retail Zoo Group Compliance Partnership report revealed that over the three-year partnership with the FWO, Retail Zoo had strengthened is systems and compliance processes, resulting in the rectification of $45,562.47 in underpayments.

The company entered into the partnership with the FWO in August 2014, in an effort to promote network-wide compliance and improve its reputation as an employer of choice.

Under the agreement, Retail Zoo resolved requests for assistance referred by the FWO, including allegations of serious non-compliance from the company’s franchise network.

Over the three years, Retail Zoo saw a marked improvement in compliance, reporting 11 requests for assistance in the first year, down to just two in second with only one request reported in the final year of the partnership.

Through investigation, Retail Zoo resolved a series of disputes regarding underpayment of wages, unpaid team meetings and incorrect penalty rates, resulting in $16,337.59 of rectified funds for nine workers.

Additionally, the company engaged in a series of self-audits involving 60 stores, concerning 196 workers and identifyied 19 breaches, 15 of which occurred at Boost Juice outlets, resulting in underpayments totalling $29,224.88.

Throughout the partnership, Retail Zoo’s commitment to improving weekend loading, causal loading, laundry allowance, penalty rates and pay slip compliance demonstrated a renewed focus on providing strong working conditions for both franchise partners and employees.

“The company conducted more self-audits than required under the terms of the PCD, demonstrating a commitment to the wellbeing of employees and workplace compliance. In each year of the partnership, the company reported that the percentage of breaches found in each self-audit decreased,” the report said.

“Throughout the life of the partnership, Retail Zoo Group demonstrated a willingness to work with the FWO to foster compliance throughout its network. By conducting additional audits outside of the requirements of the PCD, the company demonstrated a proactive stance on monitoring compliance.”

Sandra Parker, Fair Work Ombudsman said the results highlighted the importance of franchisors remaining proactive on compliance.

“It is clearly in a franchisor’s best interest to proactively promote compliance with workplace laws across its network. Recent law changes mean that franchisors can be held liable for workplace breaches by their franchisees,” Parker said.

“The hospitality industry continues to be a key focus for the Fair Work Ombudsman as it employs a significant proportion of vulnerable workers, including young people and migrants. Any workers with concerns should contact us for assistance.”