What Help Can Employees Receive From The Fair Work Ombudsman

unfair dismissal resignation from work justice

Beyond the excitement of being hired at your workplace, there is a need to understand your rights and obligations as an employee. You need to have timely information on appropriate pay rates, employees’ rights, and the ideal working conditions for your job. Failure to understand these laid down rules may lead to altercation, misunderstanding, and possibly workplace issues.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is a reliable and efficient agency that can help you achieve this. With its professional advisory and guidance team, you can receive the right education bordering on workplace operations and militate chances of getting involved in an unfair dismissal suit in the future. The FWO will help you by providing accurate information on your work rights, offering support on workplace issues, and referring you to the FWO’s fact sheet for more information on how they can help you. All of these services are free!

Do you know your rights and obligations as an employee? Do you know what help you can receive from the Fair Work Ombudsman as an employee? Read on to find out how FWO can help you in your workplace.

The Fair Work Ombudsman: A highlight

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is an independent statutory agency created by the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). Its current head is Sandra Parker. The Fair Work Ombudsman is supported by staff who help with performing workplace compliance and advisory functions enshrined in the Fair Work Act. Its offices are spread across Australia in the capital cities and regional areas of all states.

The place of the Fair Work Ombudsman in the Australian workplace cannot be neglected. The staff at the Fair Work Ombudsman are dedicated to providing advice you can rely on and assisting employers and employees resolve cases in the workplace. The FWO also appoints ‘Fair Work Inspectors’ authorized to investigate and enforce obedience to Australia’s workplace laws and industrial instruments.

They can help with issues concerning:

  • underpayment of minimum entitlements under the Fair Work Act, a modern award, or an enterprise agreement. This includes issues about pay rates, a notice of termination, redundancy, and general employment conditions under these instruments. 
  • Breaches of the National Employment Standard. The National Employment Standards (NES) are 11 minimum employment entitlements that have to be provided to all employees. The national minimum wage and the (NES) make up the minimum entitlements for employees in Australia.

However, the Fair Work Ombudsman is limited to help in cases like:

  • Tax or superannuation disputes
  • Bullying and harassment claims
  • Workplace health and safety laws and disputes
  • Unfair dismissal claims
  • Issuing employment separation certificates
  • Issues happened more than 6 years ago.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is guided by the following factors when making its decisions:

  • The kinds of issues raised
  • Whether the issues relate to our strategic priorities
  • The Compliance and Enforcement Policy

When you contact the Fair Work Ombudsman, a trained adviser will ask you some preliminary questions to ensure the workplace problem is something they can look into and understand what steps you have already taken to address any problems yourself. Despite the overwhelming complaints to the agency, the Fair Work Ombudsman chooses to investigate if the request for assistance is fairly significant or is of public interest.

Duties of the Fair Work Ombudsman 

The function of the Fair Work Ombudsman is to promote harmonious, efficient, and excellent workplace relations. The FWO also monitors, investigates, and enforces compliance with Australia’s workplace laws.

Some of their services include:

  • a single point of contact for reliable and timely information about Australia’s workplace relations system
  • educating people working in Australia about fair work practices, rights, and obligations
  • assessing complaints or suspected breaches of workplace laws, awards, and registered agreements, and some Fair Work Commission orders
  • litigating in some circumstances to enforce workplace laws and deter people from doing wrong in the community
  • building strong and effective relationships with industry, unions, and other stakeholders.

What help can you receive from the Fair Work Ombudsman

Ignorance of laid down rules in the workplace can have debilitating effects on either employers or employees, hence the need for seeking help from the FWO. With proper guidance, you can be one step away from a workplace investigation or an unfair dismissal case.

As an employer or employee, the Fair Work Ombudsman provides the needed information relevant to your workplace. The FWO provides education, advice, and guidance to all players in the workplace, including employers, employees, outworkers, out worker entities, and organizations. Some of the information they give freely borders on pay, working conditions, and workplace rights and obligations. To check your workplace rights and obligations, you should go to www.fairwork.gov.au.

As an intermediary, It is also saddled with building strong and effective relationships with industries, unions, and other stakeholders. It promotes and monitors compliance with workplace laws to ensure no one is being discriminated against or being unfairly treated while at work. It also evaluates and investigates breaches of the Fair Work Act and takes appropriate enforcement actions. It is highly instrumental in enforcing certain orders made by the Fair Work Commission. All these functions are performed effectively and ethically. 

When should you ask the FWO for help?

The Fair Work Ombudsman is an impartial body that is not biased toward either employers or employees. Below are some of the conditions that can satisfy your need for requesting assistance with the FWO. The Fair Work Ombudsman can assist you if:

  • You are covered by the FW Act or one of the industrial instruments set out above.
  • You know you aren’t getting the correct pay, conditions, or workplace rights.
  • You can also request help from the FWO if you think your employer (or prospective employer) is unlawfully discriminating against you.
  • If you run a business, the Fair Work Infoline can assist you if you are confused about your rights and obligations as an employer. This includes advice about pay rates, terms and conditions of employment for employees, record-keeping and pay slip obligations and other rights and obligations under the FW Act.

Wrapping up

Understanding the dynamics of the workplace and your rights and responsibilities is a fundamental step to a successful workplace relationship. Whether you are an employer seeking to create the right working space for your employees, obeying the conditions enshrined in the FW Acts will help you immensely and alienate you from future cases of unfair dismissal or employee discrimination. Sometimes, Ombudsman inspectors review businesses at random. Hence, you should ensure that you and your employee understand the Fair Work legislation relating to your industry and that you are compliant.

As an employee, you will understand your obligations in the workplace and receive guidance on issues bordering pay rates, working conditions, and fair work practices. It will also come in handy if you perceive a breach in fair work practices and seek redress through the appropriate channels.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is an independent intermediate agency that is dedicated to ensuring that both employers and employees can have a conducive workspace and tackle their differences amicably. The Fair Work Ombudsman services are available in many languages. Language is not a problem when contacting the FWO. You can access their services in different languages; all for free. You can get started by visiting Fair Work Online: www.fairwork.gov.au or reaching the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.