What does the ordinance mean for franchise owners?

What does the ordinance mean for franchise owners? https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Min-Wage-Banner_v2-940x198.png

When it comes to franchisees, the law in Seattle considers you a large business even if you only own a single outlet. As part of a franchise you must include all employees who work for the franchisor. So, if you are an owner of a single Subway franchise, you must count all the Subway employees in the U.S. when determining if you are a large or small employer.

Another difficulty is this; if you are not part of a traditional franchise but have separate entities that can be considered an “integrated enterprise” or if you can be considered a “joint employer” then your rules are the same as those faced by franchisors. The way to determine if you are an “integrated enterprise” or a “joint employer” can be found on pages 3-5 of the WRA’s Minimum Wage Guide.

What the guide will tell you is that businesses can be considered an “integrated enterprise” in several ways. The first delineation happens if one businesses/restaurant/hotel controls the operation of another. Even if the businesses have separate names, looks, or “feel,” they are counted as combined if they:

  • share common management
  • have centralized control of labor relations
  • have some common ownership or financial control

To make your understanding even cloudier – the degree of interrelation between the operations is also a factor that needs to be considered. If you have questions about which delineation you fall under, or if your business is described by fall under any of the above conditions, you should contact the Seattle Office of Civil Rights to ensure you are obeying the law. For more detailed information, you should contact a wage and labor lawyer. If you do not have the necessary legal counsel as part of your business model. The WRA can help you find legal help through our advisory network.

There are other ways to decide if you are a “joint employer” as well. Unfortunately, these determinations are part of a complex legal structure, and the WRA’s goal is to help you find ways to understand them as well as you can. . You can find the definitions of “joint employer” on page three of the WRA Minimum Wage Guide. If you have questions about any of the definitions, before determining if you are a “joint employer” the WRA can help you find answers.

We encourage you to make the WRA’s Minimum Wage Guide provided by the WRA and WLA your first stop in understanding this complex section of the Seattle Minimum Wage ordinance. Our goal is to help our members succeed, and as the wage terrain of our state remains in flux, the WRA is available to help guide our members towards the best possible outcomes available.

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