The Fair Work Ombudsman website requires JavaScript. Please enable JavaScript on your browser.

Online services

Our primary advice channel is the FWO website. It offers mobile-friendly tailored information, self-service tools and translated material available in 30 languages.

We improved and expanded our in-language content, including adding new videos to the website. Information on our in-language web content is detailed in Compliance priorities: Migrant workers.

During the year, resources developed for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community were also added to the website. This includes videos, guides and fact sheets about solving problems at work, taking time off for sorry business—the grieving process after the loss of a family or community member—and how the FWO can help with workplace issues.

Visits to the website increased by 7% in 2016–17 to over 16.3 million. People are increasingly choosing to access information on their phones and tablets, with mobile device visits accounting for 44% of traffic.

Table 1: Website visits and users, 2015–17
2016-17 2015-16
fairwork.gov.au visits 16 328 246 15 308 115
fairwork.gov.au users 9 556 221 9 017 902

Note: Visits represent the total number of individual visits to the website. Users represent the number of individuals who have visited the website. Visits from the same user are counted as additional visits, but not as additional users.

All website users can subscribe to receive email updates tailored to their needs. At 30 June 2017, there were 282 942 active subscribers to email services.

Record My Hours app

In 2016–17, we released our first smartphone app. Record My Hours enables employees to record the hours they work on their mobile device. It is available in multiple languages and uses smartphone technology—like maps and GPS—to automatically record when an employee arrives and leaves their workplace. Manual recording is also available.  

Employers are obliged to keep records and in the event that they don’t, the app provides alternative evidence. If an issue arises at work, employees can use the information to discuss with their employer or share their records with someone else, like the FWO or a representative. In this case, information from the app would be considered alongside other workplace records when reconciling any underpayments. In 19 court actions commenced we were unable to calculate all or some of the underpayments owed to employees due to insufficient records. Further information on record-keeping contraventions is included in Enforcement outcomes: Litigation.

The app was downloaded 13 420 times in 2016–17 and has won several awards, including gold at the 2017 Tech Design Awards.

Online Learning Centre

Our Online Learning Centre remains a popular resource, with 59% more courses commenced in 2016–17. In addition, we supplied our courses to 43 organisations during the year to incorporate within their own learning management systems. Courses are for people who want to broaden their workplace knowledge, update their skills and discover new and more productive ways of working. Three new courses were added in 2016–17:

  • managing employees
  • diversity and discrimination
  • workplace flexibility.

The diversity and flexibility courses were designed in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The FWO’s Online Learning Centre won Excellence in Public Sector Management at the 2016 Prime Minister’s Awards, recognising our innovative education approach.

Table 2: Online resources and usage, 2015–17
Resource use 2016–17 2015–16
My account registrations 103 474 82 507
Online enquiries answered 67 118 58 543
Record My Hours app downloads 13 420* -
Online learning centre courses commenced 28 931 18 220
Pay tool visits 4 144 609 4 021 289
Pay tool calculations provided 5 266 947 5 024 736
Find my award searches commenced 567 102** -

* Record My Hours app was launched in March 2017 to make it quick and easy to record hours of work on mobile devices.

** Find my award tool was introduced in November 2016 to help customers determine award coverage.

Our online tools and resources continue to grow in popularity. In April 2017 our Pay and Conditions Tool generated its 10 millionth pay rate calculation. The pay tool provided an average of 90 000 calculations per month in 2016–17. Information was commonly accessed on retail, building and construction, and hospitality modern awards.

Online enquiries

During 2016–17, we responded to 67 118 online enquiries, including via My account, web chat, email and over 1300 enquiries through the FWO’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Customers who cannot find information specific to their situation on the FWO website can submit an online enquiry through My account. My account is an authenticated online portal that also allows users to save tailored information such as pay rates, keep up to date with changes to pay and conditions, and interact with FWO advisers if they haven’t been able to resolve their query through our online guidance.

In February 2017, a new online enquiry service was introduced through My account to improve customer experience. Interactive technology provides users with instant assistance for the most common questions, creating capacity for our advisers to provide personalised assistance for more complex enquiries. This streamlined process is enabling us to assist more people, faster and more conveniently.

Additional changes made during the year allow individuals to request our assistance to resolve workplace disputes through My account. The system requires all relevant information about the dispute to be provided in the first instance and enables relevant documents such as pay slips to be uploaded. These features have helped to streamline dispute assessment and processing. Prior to this, individuals were required to complete a paper-based form in order to lodge a request for assistance. The paper-based form was used in less than 1% (215) of the 26 917 requests for assistance to resolve a workplace dispute received during the year.

Of the 63 043 My account enquires answered, wages was the most common topic. Entitlements and issues relating to termination of employment were also common.

The industries that accounted for the highest number of enquiries were:

  • accommodation and food services (11%)
  • professional, scientific and technical services (10%)
  • retail trade (10%)
  • health care and social assistance (10%).