Fair Work Commission - how we're different

Closing Loopholes: Fair Work Act changes

There have been changes to the Fair Work Act as part of the new ‘Closing Loopholes’ laws.

This may affect the information on this page.

Learn more at Closing Loopholes: Fair Work Act changes.

Find out the difference between the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Fair Work Ombudsman (us) and the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) are independent and separate government organisations.

We both regulate Australia’s workplace relations system but have different roles.

The Fair Work Ombudsman

We enforce compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009, related legislation, awards and registered agreements. We also help employers and employees by providing advice, education and assistance on pay rates and workplace rights and obligations.

For more information, read about Our role and purpose.

What we do


  • provide reliable and timely information about Australia’s workplace relations system
  • educate people about fair work practices, rights and obligations
  • resolve workplace issues by promoting and monitoring compliance with suspected breaches of workplace laws, awards and registered agreements
  • enforce workplace laws and seek penalties for breaches of workplace laws
  • enforce certain orders made by the Commission.

What we can’t do

  • investigate unfair dismissal and unlawful termination applications
  • make changes to the legislation, awards or registered agreements
  • investigate bullying complaints.

The Fair Work Commission

The Commission is the independent national workplace relations tribunal. They're responsible for maintaining a safety net of minimum wages and employment conditions. They also have a range of other workplace functions and regulation.

What the Commission does

  • help employees and employers bargain in good faith and to make, vary or terminate enterprise agreements
  • deal with applications relating to ending employment including unfair dismissal, unlawful termination or general protections
  • deal with applications and disputes about:
    • bullying at work
    • workplace sexual harassment
    • flexible working arrangements
    • extending unpaid parental leave
    • fixed term contracts
  • make orders about industrial action, including strikes, work bans and lock outs
  • provide mediation, conciliation and in some cases hold public tribunal hearings to resolve various individual and collective workplace disputes
  • make workplace determinations, hear and decide on equal remuneration claims, and deal with applications about transfer of business, stand down, general protections and right of entry disputes
  • play a role in regulating unions and employer groups.

What the Commission doesn't do

  • provide advice on entitlements under an award or a registered agreement
  • enforce minimum pay and award entitlements.

The Commission – translated resources

The Commission offers translated information and resources in many languages to help you understand their role and how they can help you.

To find out more about what the Commission does, visit Fair Work Commission – Information in your language.

Related information