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Workforce management

The FWO used strategic workforce planning to anticipate and respond to current and future workforce risks and opportunities. This included succession planning, which assisted us to identify critical roles, mitigate succession risk and build agency capability. A FWO Succession Management Framework was introduced during the year.

Graduate program

To support current and future work, we offer graduate positions each calendar year. These are structured professional development roles designed specifically for new or recent graduates.

In December 2015, 11 employees completed their graduate year at the FWO. These graduates have degrees in law, information technology, arts, human resources and social sciences.

In January 2016, five employees commenced as graduates. These graduates have degrees in commerce, law, business and information technology.

The program is run in conjunction with the Australian Public Service Commission Graduate Development Program and enables the agency to build capability in specialist roles and capacity in critical areas. 

Capability development

The FWO Capability Framework was introduced in 2016 to guide investment in the right professional development for successful outcomes, today and in the future. It provides a structured approach for mapping skills and knowledge. It also supports and guides workforce management and strategic workforce planning activities including recruitment, induction, performance management, learning and career development, and succession planning.

Other 2015-16 capability development initiatives included:

  • conducting a pilot talent program aimed at high performers with high potential; focusing on growing, rewarding and recognising our talented people
  • supporting employees to undertake formal accredited courses through our study assistance scheme
  • a Continuing Professional Development Program to maintain the technical knowledge and professional development of frontline staff
  • delivering 25 training courses to more than 1500 participants through 65 online and face-to-face sessions nationally, equating to approximately 10 840 training hours.

Employee engagement

APS Employee Census results continue to provide evidence of a highly engaged workforce.

In 2015-16, activities to promote a positive and engaged workplace included:

  • recognising high performance through reward programs, including our Annual Achievement Awards
  • facilitating employee feedback on workplace matters through our Agency Consultative Forum
  • enhancing performance management practices to support the setting of clear expectations and regular, meaningful feedback conversations between managers and employees
  • formalising and streamlining requests for flexible working arrangements.

Ethics and values

The Australian Public Service (APS) Values, Code of Conduct and Employment Principles promote responsible public administration and help to shape our culture. They underpin our positive workplace approach - one that encourages and recognises high performance, strong leadership and inclusion.

Information on the APS Values, Code of Conduct and Employment Principles is available on our intranet, included in mandatory staff training and incorporated in employee performance plans.


We value diversity and recognise the positive contribution employees from diverse backgrounds make at the FWO. In 2015-16, our commitment to an inclusive and flexible workplace continued through:

  • accreditation by White Ribbon Australia as a workplace which takes active steps to prevent and respond to violence against women
  • accreditation by the Australian Breastfeeding Association as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace
  • a register of multilingual staff willing to assist customers from diverse backgrounds
  • support mechanisms for employees experiencing family or domestic violence
  • sponsorship of employee networks including our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Network; Women’s Forum; Indigenous Employee Network; and Disability Network
  • sustained gender equality at executive levels, with 58% female executive managers and 44% female senior executive managers at 30 June 2016
  • our practice of briefing both male and female counsel; we briefed 54 female (one Indigenous) and 42 male barristers.

Changes to disability reporting

Since 1994, non-corporate Commonwealth entities have reported on their performance as a policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007-08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s (APSC) State of the Service reports and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available on the APSC’s website external-icon.png.

From 2010-11, entities have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The Commonwealth Disability Strategy has been overtaken by the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these progress reports was published in 2014, and can be found on the Department of Social Services website external-icon.png.

Remuneration and employment conditions

The FWO Enterprise Agreement 2011-14 is past its nominal expiry date but remains the main source of terms and conditions of employment for APS1–EL2 employees during the reporting period. It sets out the agency’s commitment to flexible working arrangements and includes information on remuneration and performance management. Employees continue to receive information to help them understand their rights and obligations under the agreement and associated policies.

The agency was negotiating a new enterprise agreement in 2015-16. This was endorsed by staff on 23 September 2016.

Table 15: Employee workplace agreements by classification, at 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2015
Classification 2016 enterprise agreement 2015 enterprise agreement 2016 common law contract 2015 common law contract 2016 individual flexibility agreement 2015 individual flexibility agreement 2016 total 2015 total
APS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
APS 2 7 4 0 0 0 0 7 4
APS 3 102 108 0 0 0 0 102 108
APS 4 141 137 0 0 0 0 141 137
APS 5 267 250 0 0 0 0 267 250
APS 6 149 146 0 0 0 0 149 146
EL 1 98 101 0 0 0 0 98 101
EL 2 27 27 0 0 5 6 32 33
SES Band 1 0 0 7 9 0 0 7 9
SES Band 2 0 0 2 2 0 0 2 2
Total 791 773 9 11 5 6  805 790

Note: Excludes the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Our remuneration policy operates in accordance with parameters that apply across the APS. No performance bonuses were paid to staff in 2015–16.

Table 16: Salary ranges by classification, at 30 June 2016
Classification Salary ranges
APS 1 $46 546 - $48 384
APS 2 $52 792 - $57 815
APS 3 $59 407 - $64 063
APS 4 $66 144 - $71 779
APS 5 $73 738 - $78 148
APS 6 $79 862 - $91 867
EL 1 $101 665 - $110 750
EL 2 $117 221 - $170 000
SES Band 1 $215 883 - $228 659
SES Band 2 $247 588 - $259 414

Note: Excludes the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Non-salary staff benefits can include:

  • professional membership fees
  • parking allocation at work
  • a mobile phone, iPad and laptop
  • airline lounge membership.

Work health and safety

In 2015-16, initiatives and outcomes of the FWO’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy included:

  • maintaining a safe working environment with hazards and risks removed, minimised or managed
  • introducing a new policy to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in and/or near the workplace
  • a preventative health campaign to encourage employees to actively look after their health
  • mental health first aid and work health and safety training
  • an influenza vaccination program
  • a rehabilitation management system audit, with 100% compliance found
  • installation of more than 300 sit-to-stand desks
  • rehabilitation case management services.

There was a decrease in worker compensation claims during the year, reducing the FWO’s Comcare premium.

Work health and safety incident reporting

Under section 38 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the FWO is required to inform Comcare of any notifiable accidents or dangerous occurrences arising out of work undertaken by any of our employees.

One notifiable accident, where an employee received an electric shock, was reported to Comcare in 2015-16. No dangerous occurrences were reported.

Under section 39 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the FWO is required to report any investigations conducted during the year into any of its undertakings.

No investigations were conducted in 2015-16.

Property and environmental management

In 2015-16, we reduced property expenditure and size by improving occupational density ratios and use of office space.

The National Australian Built Environment Rating System was considered when approaching the market for accommodation.

Environmental performance

Initiatives of our Environmental Management Action Plan to reduce waste, energy and water consumption, and greenhouse emissions included:

  • advising employees of their environmental responsibilities at work
  • using print-on-demand, requiring staff to swipe their identification card to print
  • using 100% carbon neutral paper for internal printing
  • implementing paperless processes in operational areas
  • participating in programs to recycle toner cartridges and mobile phones
  • introducing bin-less offices in new accommodation and encouraging more recycling.

The action plan is regularly reviewed to ensure its effectiveness.

Information technology

Responsibility for the FWO’s information technology is shared with the Department of Employment and Department of Education and Training Shared Services Centre.

In 2015-16, 129 employees received new personal computers. We also deployed 168 desktop-anywhere laptops to provide employees greater flexibility in accessing the agency’s network around and outside the office. This rollout will continue in 2016-17.

Investment in digital customer products and services enables us to be more innovative and productive. Infringement notices were digitalised during the year, enabling Fair Work Inspectors to issue notices via email, reducing time and cost. The FWO also deployed a new customer relationship management system for frontline employees, increasing our ability to provide consistent, high-quality information and advice.