Franchise Business Group Celebrates Rollback of Joint Employer Standard

Franchise Business Group Celebrates Rollback of Joint Employment Guidance

The International Franchise Association (IFA) has applauded rolling back the Obama-era joint employer standard that determined individual franchisees, many small business owners, could be considered “joint employers” with larger corporations.

The response came after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) said on June 7 it was rescinding the agency’s interpretation of joint employer, treating it as unlimited joint employer liability.

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“We are pleased the DOL is taking first steps to undo this costly regulation created by the previous administration,” said IFA’s Vice President of Public Affairs Matt Haller, in a press statement.

Joint Employer Standard Hurt Franchises

According to the IFA, the joint employer standard threatened to be one of the most costly and burdensome regulations impacting franchises. It provided expanded circumstances under which a business could be held liable for wage-law violations by franchisees, contractors and staffing agencies.

Under the joint employer standard, companies could be considered joint employers if they hired or fired contract workers, set wages or had any control over their tasks or employment conditions. The franchise business group said this expanded definition threatened the franchise business model where two or more associated companies may employ the same staff members — or where a large corporation and individually owned franchise might be considered joint employers.

DOL’s decision to remove what IFA saw as potentially limitless liability standard for determining joint employer status is a welcome respite not just for franchisers. It’s also important to other small businesses using staffing firms and other third-party companies to outsource some of their business operations. The standard was being widely targeted by class action attorneys and labor unions at the expense of job creation, industry leaders say.

“Diligent employers work hard to be compliant with the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act that expanded the joint employer standard) and these DOL interpretations were merely enforcement traps waiting to spring,” Randy Johnson, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is told Reuters.

IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising across the U.S. and worldwide.


Dept. of Labor Photo via Shutterstock


David William David William is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. He covers franchises, brick and mortar businesses, public policy and other small business issues. He is also founding editor of WebWriterSpotlight.

2 Reactions
  1. This was a positive ruling for the entire franchise industry. And it was long overdue, for sure!

    The Franchise King®

  2. Barry Benjamin

    How did this affect the employees? It sounds like the repeal will help employers but will it also help employees?

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