Pushing Pennsylvania Fair Franchising

Last month DDIFO Executive Director Ed Shanahan and Coalition of Franchisee Association (CFA) Chairman Keith Miller were in Harrisburg to testify before a Pennsylvania House Consumer Affairs Committee hearing on House Bill #1620, better known as Fair Franchising.

“HB 1620 will require that when terminating a franchising agreement – firing the franchise owner, if you will – there be good cause to do so,” Shanahan told the committee hearing the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Peter J. Daley (D) District 49. “The provisions of HB 1620
are a sequence of small steps that begin the process of balancing a business relationship that has long been out of balance.”

Miller characterized the bill as something that will “strengthen franchising, not harm or limit it.” The two are optimistic Pennsylvania will follow California’s lead and enact better protections for franchise owners.

The committee heard testimony and is scheduling a follow up meeting to discuss the bill before deciding whether to send it on for consideration.

Minimum wage, maximum anxiety

Worried that a minimum wage hike could wreck your bottom line? Well, apparently Dunkin’ Brands Chief Executive Nigel Travis thinks you should be.

Travis tells The Street that anxiety over minimum wage increases has driven Dunkin’ franchise owners to increase “prices as lot, probably in some cases beyond our recommendation.”

The price increases could have a negative impact on the brand, Travis told the financial news website, arguing rising costs could “erode some of our value perception.” Some franchisees say they didn’t expect Travis to blame franchisees for recouping costs through modest price increases.

Meanwhile, the tide of minimum wage legislation rolls on across the country.

The Berkeley Labor Commission wants to boost that California city’s minimum wage to $19 an hour by 2020.

The Berkeley City Council is slated to vote on the proposal in November. The city’s current minimum wage tops out at $10
an hour.

Fair Scheduling

Workers advocates are also continuing their press to change the rules governing how employers schedule their employees. Started in San Francisco, the so-called fair scheduling legislation requires workers get at least two-weeks’ notice before their shift is scheduled. The rules went into effect in San Francisco in July. After two months, Ronald Fong, president of the California Grocers Association told the Washington Post, “We’re hearing from members in San Francisco that it really is not working well at all. Stores can’t always predict surges in foot traffic, which might be brought on a sunny day, leaving managers without the option to bring in more staff. That was a problem during the heat wave that swept over San Francisco this summer.”

Recently, union-backed protesters marched on the State House in Boston where a legislative committee heard testimony on implementing new scheduling rules. New York State, Maryland, the District of Columbia and the city of Minneapolis are all considering implementing scheduling laws.

Sick leave gaining strength

Michigan is poised to become the latest state to debate whether to require employers to provide paid sick leave.

A group called a Time to Care recently announced plans to gather the more than 250,000 signatures needed to put a sick leave question on the state ballot for November 2016.

The proposed law would require businesses with ten or more employees to offer as much as nine days of paid sick leave, or 72 hours. In businesses fewer than ten employees, workers could accrue sick leave time as they work, up to a total of
40 hours.

The proposal would also allow workers to take another four days – or 32 hours – unpaid.

If passed, Michigan would join three other states that now mandate paid sick leave, Massachusetts, California and Oregon.

Counting calories

The Food and Drug Administration has put out a 53-page guidebook to answer all your burning questions about calorie labeling.

Restaurant chains with 20 or more locations are on the hook to provide calorie counts on their menus starting December 1, 2016.

Calorie labeling had been scheduled to start this year, but was pushed off until 2016 amid pleas by the restaurant industry for more time.

Still, the rules aren’t complexly all encompassing. Franchise owners won’t be required to list calories for increasingly popular, limited-time special items, defined as being on the menu for 60 days or less a year.