Takeaway giant Domino’s has attracted the scrutiny of the workplace ombudsman, which found that just four of the 33 stores it audited across four capital cities were fully compliant with workplace laws.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) allegedly uncovered a number of breaches, including 20 workers being shortchanged by almost $2,000 in the single month that the audit examined, as well as unauthorised deductions, failure to pay other allowances and poor record-keeping.
In fact, just four of the 33 stores were found to be fully compliant, while 19 stores were found to have made serious breaches of workplace laws. The FWO issued 17 formal warnings and four compliance notices.
Further investigations are ongoing into 10 stores that are owned and operated by the same franchise.
In light of the findings, ombudsman Sandra Parker called on Domino’s to take action and address the problems within its franchise network.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman has worked with Domino’s head office for several years to try to promote a culture of workplace compliance. While Domino’s have made some improvements to their processes, they should be closely monitoring their stores to ensure employees are being paid correctly,” Ms Parker said.
“We expect better from a major network like Domino’s – it should not be up to the Fair Work Ombudsman to find and alert businesses to the systemic issues identified.”
Ms Parker said her office will closely monitor the pizza giant and conduct further audits over the next 12 months in a bid to improve compliance.
“We recommend that Domino’s immediately commence a review of the pay and entitlements of all employees across its network, including at both franchisor and franchisee owned stores,” she said.
“We also call upon Domino’s to publish the findings of these audit activities so that consumers can be confident their stores are complying with workplace law.”
In a statement responding to the findings, Domino’s claimed that majority of the issues were “administrative errors”, and suggested the figures needed to be put into context.
Of the almost $2,000 in underpayments, it said that “one franchisee with two stores was responsible for over $1,500 of the underpayment. The balance occurred across the remaining 17 stores where the average underpayment was under $25 per employee”.
“Further, the underpayments related to only 19 employees out of an approximate 600 (3.2%). Therefore, correct payments were made to almost 97% of employees during the audit period,” it said.
Domino’s Australia CEO Nick Knight defended his company and suggested the results of the audit were actually a positive.
“We have been saying for quite some time that there’s no systemic issues across the business and the results from this investigation, as well as our own nationwide store audit, support this,” he said.
“Our goal is to ensure team members receive their correct entitlements at all times and, where this has not been the case as revealed by FWO’s investigation, we will ensure any wages underpayments are rectified as quickly as possible.”
Mr Knight noted that five of the stores audited were company-owned, with issues found in three of them that pertained to “paperwork for sick leave and inaccurate time records as a result of minor adjustments being made”.
“We will continue to work hard with our franchisees and employees as we strive to achieve a 100 per cent compliance rate. This includes providing additional training and ongoing audits in the attempt to fulfil our responsibility and obligation to protect team members,” he said.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.