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The Fair Work Ombudsman has 26 active investigations into alleged underpayment by franchisees of the Domino’s Pizza group, according to evidence presented to Senate estimates hearings.

Ombudsman Natalie James said the regulator was waiting for a large amount of information from Domino’s and could not provide a timeline for when the work would be completed.

“We’re very early in the process at the moment,” she said.

James said the Ombudsman recognised that Domino’s was trying to work out what was going on its franchisee networks but it was yet to satisfy itself on the “nature of underpayments and remedial action”.

“What enforcement outcomes might flow from this will depend on the culpability of all parts,” said James.

“We need to assess Domino’s own possible involvement in what’s gone on.”

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited is listed on the ASX, but FWO managers told the Senate hearings the employers of the workforce are the franchisees, which is where the legal obligations lie.

Domino’s has had two compliance partnerships with the FWO on employment arrangements, but the most recent expired last year.

Greens senator Lee Rhiannon asked for information on how many Domino’s franchisees lost money and earned under $60,000 a year.

“It’s not of interest to us,” replied deputy ombudsman Michael Campbell.

“They have an obligation to pay their workforce irrespective of the profit margin.”

FWO said it was focused on specific investigations as to whether workers were being paid correctly, but this could later be extended to consider the broader reasons for non-compliance.

Source: Workplace Express 30/5/2017