Research reports

We fund and oversee research to help us understand certain workplace issues.

This research helps us to focus our activities in certain areas, making sure that we’re helping achieve fairer workplaces.

Unpaid work arrangements: exploitation or experience? - 2013

In late 2011, we identified unpaid work in Australia as a growing issue that needed our attention. We decided that further research was needed in this area so we could understand it better.

We asked Adelaide University Law School Professor Andrew Stewart and Rosemary Owens to conduct research and deliver a report on unpaid work in Australia.

The report looks at 3 types of unpaid work in Australia:

  • unpaid work experience
  • unpaid trial work
  • unpaid internships.

The report gives recommendations on how we and employers, industry bodies, unions and other government agencies can develop and implement processes for education and enforcement around unpaid work.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has developed a range of Fact sheets to assist employers and students to understand different types of unpaid work arrangements.

Download the report and summary:

Phoenix activity report - 2012

We commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to deliver a report on the impact of phoenix activities on workplace relations.

Phoenix activity is when an employer avoids tax and other responsibilities, like paying employee entitlements, through intentionally and systematically liquidating their business. These types of activities significantly impact our ability to get back unpaid employee entitlements.

The report looks at how big the problem is and provides recommendations to address phoenix activity. It is used to inform our education and enforcement activities.

Download the report:

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