Fair Work inspectors take part in O-Week

9 February 2012

The Fair Work Ombudsman will join O-Week activities at 25 university campuses throughout Australia to educate students about their workplace rights.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says knowledge is the best defence for young workers and his Agency has a range of free tools and resources they should know about.

"Money can be tight when you're a student, so it's important for students taking on part-time or casual work during their studies to understand their minimum entitlements," he said.

"We encourage university students to talk to Fair Work inspectors at our O-Week stands to learn more about their workplace rights and how we can assist if they encounter a problem down the track."

Fair Work inspectors will attend O-week activities at:


  • Canberra: Canberra Institute of Technology, Trade Centre, Fyshwick, February 14
  • Canberra: Australian National University, Acton campus, February 15
  • Canberra: Canberra Institute of Technology, Reid Campus, February 22


  • Tweed Heads: Southern Cross University, Lakeside campus, February 17
  • Wagga: Charles Sturt University, main campus, February 20
  • Orange: Charles Sturt University, main campus, February 20
  • Sydney: University of NSW, Kensington campus, February 21
  • Sydney: University of Technology, City campus, February 22


  • Darwin: Charles Darwin University, Casuarina campus, February 22


  • Townsville: James Cook University, main campus, February 15
  • Cairns: James Cook University, main campus, February 15
  • Ipswich: University of Queensland, main campus, February 21
  • Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point campus, Feb 27
  • Rockhampton: Central Queensland University, main campus, March 7


  • Adelaide: University of Adelaide, North Terrace campus, February 20
  • Adelaide: University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes campus, February 28


  • Hobart: University of Tasmania, Hobart campus, February 28


  • Bendigo: La Trobe University, main campus, February 21
  • Melbourne: Deakin University, Burwood campus, February 27
  • Warrnambool: Deakin University, main campus, February 27


  • Perth: Murdoch University, Murdoch campus, February 16
  • Perth: Edith Cowan University, Joondalup campus, February 21
  • Bunbury: Edith Cowan University, Bunbury campus, February 22
  • Perth: Curtin University, Bentley campus, February 22
  • Perth: University of Western Australia, Crawley campus, February 24

Mr Wilson says inspectors will provide students with young worker fact sheets, give them tips about workplace rights and answer any questions they have.

Inspectors will have fact sheets specifically tailored for international students and students undertaking internships, vocational placements and unpaid work.

"Students, especially those who are living in Australia for the first time, can be vulnerable as they are often unaware of their right to minimum wage conditions, penalty rates and leave entitlements," Mr Wilson said.

"Inspectors will be looking to speak with as many international students as they can."

Mr Wilson says basic information students should be aware of include:

  • Unpaid work trials are generally unlawful
  • You should be given a pay slip within one day of being paid
  • It is a good idea to keep your own record of your shift hours, meal breaks and pay, as it will help you check you've been paid properly and will be invaluable in settling any dispute
  • Your boss cannot deduct money from your wages if customers leave without paying or if the cash register is short
  • You should be paid for all hours you work, including trial shifts or probation periods, meetings, training and opening and closing the business
  • Your employment can't be terminated for asking your employer about your pay and entitlements or for contacting the Fair Work Ombudsman
  • If you are paid in cash, check your pay slip to make sure tax has been taken out of your pay. Your employer must take tax out of your pay
  • If you are worried about the consequences of complaining - be aware that
    complaints can be made with the Fair Work Ombudsman confidentially.

For more information, students can visit www.fairwork.gov.au/youngworkers - or chat Online with a Fair Work adviser.

The website has a number of tools and resources, including PayCheck Plus and an Award Finder, to assist business-owners and employees alike to calculate the correct pay rates and allowances. PayCheck Plus calculates minimum rates of pay per hour, per shift or per week and takes account of payments for overtime, penalty rates and allowances.

Any employer or employee, including students, seeking assistance can also call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free information and advice.

A free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50 and information on the website is translated into 27 different languages.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has also recently launched 14 Online videos to assist foreign workers understand their workplace rights and entitlements.

The short videos - available at www.youtube.com/fairworkgovau external-icon.png - are presented by native speakers of Mandarin, Cantonese, Indonesian, Serbian, Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese, Thai and Turkish. There is also an English version.

Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au external-icon.png or find us on Facebook external-icon.png.

Media inquiries:

Richard Honey, Adviser, Media & Stakeholder Relations,
(03) 9954 2716, 0457 924 146

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