CEO Column: Positive Developments With Overtime, Joint Employer

By Robert Cresanti, CFE


IFA’s work to protect, enhance and promote the franchise business model has made significant strides over the summer and into the fall. With the introduction of the Save Local Business Act and the positive momentum generated through the Franchise Action Network Annual Meeting in September, IFA is taking the core messages of fixing joint employer, getting clarity on overtime regulations and reforming the U.S. tax code for small businesses straight to the people who can make a difference.
During the FAN Annual Meeting from Sept. 11-13 in Washington D.C., nearly 400 franchisors, franchisees, suppliers and advocates for the business model flew in from across the country — despite the devastating impact of two of the worse hurricanes in recent memory — to discuss the next steps in advocating for a pro-franchising policy agenda. Along with IFA Chair Shelly Sun, CFE, and other members of the IFA Board of Directors, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and other White House staff on Sept. 11 to discuss a variety of policy issues, including tax reform. The next day, FAN attendees gained insight from panel discussions that included members of IFA’s Government Relations and Public Policy team. IFA staff accompanied FAN attendees to Capitol Hill on Sept. 13, where they told their stories to congressional offices and voiced their concerns about threats to the franchise business model. The country’s federal representatives gained first-hand insight into the struggles of small business owners, who urged them to support the Save Local Business Act – H.R. 3441 – in the House of Representatives and from there, move forward a similar measure in the Senate. Read more about the FAN Annual Meeting on page 10.


A Texas federal judge issued a permanent injunction on Aug. 31 to stop the Obama Administration’s overtime rule, which has been on temporary hold since last November. The decision is definitive victory in taking on one of the potentially costliest regulations undermining franchising. IFA was one of the plaintiffs in the case, representing the interests of the franchising industry. Read more about the decision on page 76.

Tax Reform

It is critical that we do not sacrifice any core agenda item in favor of small gains in just one policy area. We are currently living in a unique political environment with the will for bipartisan deal-making on issues of critical importance to franchise businesses and the small business community. Restoring the original definition of a joint employer, achieving clarity on overtime and reforming the U.S. tax code are all still possible during this session of Congress, and one or two of these measures may hopefully even be dealt with before the end of the calendar year. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who recently said that tax reform will be addressed by the end of 2017, emphasizes that the Trump Administration is “super-focused” on the issue. So too is IFA. Franchising is a business model that embodies the American Dream and is a key driver of upward mobility in our country. Let’s hope that policymakers in Washington D.C. can get behind franchising in the same way that so many franchise business leaders get behind their communities through a variety of philanthropic efforts, in addition to their essential role in the economy as job creators.
If you also believe that most jobs are created by risk-takers in your own communities and not in Washington D.C., then please help IFA move forward these initiatives. The best way to help move the needle is by contacting your member of Congress and telling them to support the Save Local Business Act. In an opinion piece published Aug. 30 in The Hill, I pointed out that tax reform has historically been a bipartisan issue. When it comes to creating jobs and empowering people to climb the ladder of opportunity, there are no Republicans or Democrats, only Americans. Be sure to remind your member of Congress that we all want to see this country thrive.
Robert Cresanti, CFE, is the President and CEO of the International Franchise Association.