Washington, D.C. – On September 16, International Franchise Association (IFA) President and CEO Matt Haller issued a letter to President Biden seeking additional information on the administration’s recent COVID-19 Action Plan and its vaccination requirements for United States employers and workers. The letter also urges President Biden to consider the unique needs of the franchising sector as the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) develops an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”).
“First and foremost, franchisees must be recognized as the individual entities that they are, not as part of the brand company with which they license a trademark. Franchise small business owners oversee all employment decisions, including hiring, firing, wages and benefits and will be responsible for complying with any vaccine mandates required by OSHA,” wrote Matt Haller in his letter to President Biden. “It would be patently unfair for these small business owners to be looked at any other way or subject to a different set of rules than similarly-situated non-franchised businesses.”
Of paramount concern to many franchisors and franchisees is exactly how the ETS will count employees toward the 100-employee vaccine mandate threshold. IFA urgently recommends that any ETS ensures franchises will not be “totaled up” across their brand, but rather look to the individual franchise itself to determine employee headcount.
Similarly, where a franchisee may own and operate multiple locations, the ETS should make clear that where multiple units are properly maintained and operated as separate corporate locations or entities, each unit should determine its employee headcount with reference to that unit alone.
Finally, IFA requests that the ETS make clear that franchise brands will be protected from joint-employer liability with their franchisees if vaccination requirements are implemented via operating manuals and/or brand standard requirements.
The franchising sector is led by small business owners nationwide, and collectively account for 733,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 7.6 million direct jobs, $674.3 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy and 2.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is vital that whatever actions are pursued under the COVID-19 Action Plan, additional burdens on these small franchise businesses are minimized.
Celebrating 60 years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations, and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising and the more than 733,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 7.6 million direct jobs, $674.3 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy, and 2.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees, and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology, and business development.