The Fair Work Ombudsman

by Jun 8, 2022All Posts, Fair Work

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is an independent statuary agency created in response to the Fair Work Act (2009), to promote harmony and productive performance within the workplace by advising, assisting and regulating workplace issues and compliance in accordance with such. 

What is the difference between the ombudsman and the commission?

The Fair Work Ombudsman educates, enforces, and monitors employer and employee compliance with Fair Work Legislation, acting as an advisory service. Whereas, the Fair Work Commission monitors workplace regulation of the Fair Work Act, sets the national minimum wage and modern award minimum wage, and conducts tribunals in response to unfair work claims.

What can they do?

The FWO offers free services to employers and employees, such as:

  • Accurate and up to date information about Australia’s workplace relations system;
  • Assists employers with any concerns surrounding industrial instruments, in particular employer obligations, such as classification of Awards and associated leave and obligatory entitlements;
  • Advising of best practice, fair work rights and workplace obligations;
  • Developing relationships between industry unions and other associated stakeholders;
  • Conducting assessment of complaints and claims related to breaches of workplace law, awards, and registered agreements; and
  • Provision of employee assistance if they feel that an employer (or potential employer) is displaying discriminatory behaviour.

*There are FWO offices located in capital cities and some regional areas throughout all Australian states and territories.

The FWO appoints inspectors authorized to conduct inquiry and investigation into employer compliance with Australian workplace laws and relevant industrial instruments, inclusive of:

  • Terms and conditions of employment satisfied in accordance with Fair Work Act, such as accurate and detailed record keeping and maintaining employer pay slip obligations;
  • National Employment Standards are being met;
  • Modern Awards, Enterprise Agreements, and Employment Agreements are compliant with Fair Work. For example ensuring that employee documentation and employment type corresponds with workplace role and responsibilities;
  • Enforcing orders made by the Fair Work Commission;
  • Seeking penalties for breaches of workplace law and passing findings on for further investigation when required, such as for civil or criminal investigation. 
  • Resolving workplace issues and monitoring Industrial Agreements, such as compliance of conditions, obligations, and rights between in service contractors and employers.

Assurance HR Management assist many workplaces in remaining compliant with the Fair Work Act, and often follow up queries and action adjustments and workplace changes on behalf of the time poor employer. If you have any concerns or would like advice or assistance, contact us today on 1800 577 515.

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