Compliance and enforcement

Closing Loopholes: Fair Work Act changes

A new criminal offence for intentional underpayments by employers will be added to the Fair Work Act as part of the new ‘Closing Loopholes’ laws from no earlier than 1 January 2025.

We (the Fair Work Ombudsman) will investigate suspected criminal underpayment offences once the changes take effect.

Learn more at Closing Loopholes: Fair Work Act changes.

We are responsible for promoting compliance with Australian workplace laws, and educating about rights and responsibilities at work.

We can also help to resolve workplace issues. We don’t investigate every request for assistance made to us. If we decide that a request for assistance involves very serious issues or is in the public interest, we may choose to investigate. If we find that a workplace law has been broken, there are a number of things we can do. Read more in our Compliance and enforcement policy

Most of the time, breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the FW Act) involve breaches of civil remedy provisions. This means that someone can be penalised or fined by a court if the court determines that they've broken a workplace law. We have a range of processes and enforcement options for these kinds of offences which include:

Some breaches of the FW Act are criminal offences. This means someone can be fined or even imprisoned if they break these laws. Examples of criminal offences in the FW Act include employer or employee organisations giving, receiving or soliciting bribes.

Currently, we don't investigate issues that are potentially criminal in nature. However, if these issues are brought to our attention, we refer them to the Australian Federal Police. Read more about who we work with.

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