The Fair Work Commission and us - what's the difference?

The Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) (previously called Fair Work Australia) are independent government organisations.

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

The Fair Work Ombudsman

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

See Our role for more information.

What we can 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 Fair Work Commission.

What we can’t do

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

The Commission

The Commission is the independent national workplace relations tribunal. It is responsible for maintaining a safety net of minimum wages and employment conditions, as well as a range of other workplace functions and regulation.

What it can do

  • hear unfair dismissal and unlawful termination applications
  • hear bullying and harassment applications
  • resolve general protections claims
  • accept and investigate bullying complaints
  • make changes to pay and entitlements in awards and registered agreements
  • approve registered agreements
  • make and change awards
  • make decisions about industrial action and union activity.

What it can’t do

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

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