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NLRB Move on Joint Employer Could ‘Accelerate’ Resolution​


The National Labor Relations Board said last week it may take up the joint employer issue and resolve it by means of rulemaking, a move that many in franchising say they’d welcome.

“This could swiftly accelerate the determination of the issue in a fashion helpful to franchisors,” said David Kaufmann, Kaufmann Gildin & Robbins in New York, via email.

“Whether one business is the joint employer of another business’s employees is one of the most critical issues in labor law today,” said NLRB Chairman John Ring in a statement May 9. “The current uncertainty over the standard to be applied in determining joint-employer status” under the National Labor Relations Act “undermines employers’ willingness to create jobs and expand business opportunities. In my view, notice-and-comment rulemaking offers the best vehicle to fully consider all views on what the standard ought to be.” 

The NLRB has begun the internal process necessary to consider rulemaking on the standard, the statement said, adding “the inclusion of the proposal in the regulatory agenda does not reflect the participation of board members Pearce and McFerran. Any proposed rule would require approval by a majority of the five-member board.” The next step would be to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking.

Matt Haller, SVP of government relations and public affairs at the International Franchise Association, welcomed the announcement. In a statement, he said the NLRB’s move is an “acknowledgement the Trump administration recognizes the importance of providing clear rules to employers in the long term.” He added the IFA continues to “primarily advocate for the Save Local Business Act in Congress as the best way to address the full scope of the joint employer uncertainty facing franchise businesses.”

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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