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Workforce management

Capability development

In 2017-18, the FWO made a significant investment in developing workforce capability. We introduced the Manager Academy project, which aims to develop and maintain the skills of our new managers, and refresh and up-skill the capability of more experienced managers. Working directly with our managers, our aim is to understand their experiences, deliver targeted training programs and co-design solutions to current and future management challenges. As a part of this project, we established a representative group of managers to co-design project deliverables and rolled out our new management foundations program - Management in Action. Other 2017-18 capability development initiatives included:

  • development and delivery of legislative training to frontline staff on the introduction of the Protecting Vulnerable Workers provisions under the Fair Work Act
  • delivery of 79 training courses to more than 782 participants through 183 online and face-to-face sessions nationally, amounting to approximately 14 009 training hours - this included training in customer management, decision-making and supervisor skills
  • supporting 32 employees to undertake formal accredited courses through our study assistance scheme
  • providing a continuing professional development program to maintain the technical knowledge and professional development of frontline and corporate FWO staff
  • developing a structured induction and learning pathway that helped to strengthen the technical and professional skills of Fair Work Inspectors. The pathway provides a progressive capability framework with internal programs and externally accredited training
  • providing all employees with access to an online learning platform containing self-paced courses to cost-effectively enable employees to up-skill at a time and place convenient to them.

Employee engagement

FWO has high engagement levels between staff, supervisors and the agency, and generally performs well in the Australian Public Service (APS) Employee Census compared to the APS overall. Our staff report believing strongly in the purpose of the FWO and feel supported to develop new and innovative ways of working. In 2017-18, activities to promote a positive and engaged workplace included:

  • recognising exceptional performance through reward programs, including our Annual Achievement Awards and team-specific initiatives
  • encouraging employee feedback on workplace matters, including revisions to FWO policies, through our Agency Consultative Forum
  • facilitating employee involvement in living and applying the FWO’s cultural attributes through the FWO Culture Project.

Graduate program

In December 2017, five employees completed their graduate year at the FWO. These graduates have degrees in law, public policy and arts.

The program is run in conjunction with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Graduate Development Program and helps us build capability in specialist roles and capacity in critical areas.

Indigenous Australian Government Development Program

In December 2017, an employee completed the Indigenous Australian Government Development Program (IAGDP), a well-established employment and development programme designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.

Ethics and values

The APS Values, Code of Conduct and Employment Principles promote responsible public administration. They underpin our positive workplace culture - 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 induction training for new staff, mandatory training for existing staff and incorporated in employee performance plans.

Diversity and inclusion

We value diversity and inclusion and we recognise the positive contribution employees from diverse backgrounds make at the FWO

In 2017-18, our commitment to an inclusive and flexible workplace continued through:

  • development of a new Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan 2018-21
  • development of a Gender Equality Action Plan 2018-21
  • providing online training to increase diversity awareness for the following diversity groups - Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; Multi-Cultural and Disability
  • availability and increased take up of flexible working arrangements
  • support mechanisms for employees experiencing family or domestic violence, including access to up to 20 days paid leave
  • a register of multilingual staff willing to assist customers from diverse backgrounds
  • sponsorship of employee networks including our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Network; Gender Equality Network; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Network; and Disability Network
  • sustained gender equality at executive levels, with 60% female executive managers and 46% female senior executive managers at 30 June 2018
  • our practice of briefing both male and female counsel; we briefed female counsel 55 times and male counsel 35 times
  • continued accreditation by White Ribbon Australia as a workplace that takes active steps to prevent and respond to violence against women
  • accreditation by the Australian Breastfeeding Association as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace
  • participation in the Australian Network on Disability Stepping Into Internships program which facilitates paid internships for university students with disability
  • participation in the Red Cross Next Generation Leadership program which places humanitarian visa holders in Australian workplaces to gain experience in leadership and advocacy.

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 APSC’s 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 2010-20, 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 2016-19 (the agreement) came into effect on 19 October 2016. Under the agreement there was a 3% salary increase on commencement, a 2% increase on 19 October 2017 and there will be a further 1% increase in 2018.

The agreement covers APS1-EL2 employees and provides access to a range of leave, flexible working arrangements, allowances and other benefits. It also provides for an Agency Consultative Forum, which facilitates staff consultation on workplace matters.

Information on rights and obligations under the agreement and associated policies is available on the FWO intranet.

Table 26: Employee workplace agreements, common law contracts and individual flexibility agreements by classification, at 30 June 2018 and 30 June 2017
Classification 2018 enterprise agreement 2017 enterprise agreement 2018 common law contract 2017 common law contract 2018 individual flexibility agreement 2017 individual flexibility agreement 2018 total 2017 total
APS 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 7 0 0 0 0 5 7
99 99 0 0 0 0 99 99
119 144 0 0 0 0 119 144
288 266 0 0 0 0 288 266
162 170 0 0 0 0 162 170
EL 1 99 99 0 0 0 0 99 99
EL 2 34 33 0 0 3 3 37 36
SES Band 1 0 0 10 9 0 0 10 9
SES Band 2 0 0 3 3 0 0 3 3
Total 806 818 13 12 3 3 822 833

Our remuneration policy operates in accordance with parameters that apply across the APS. No performance bonuses were paid to FWO staff in 2017-18.

Table 27: Salary ranges by classification, at 30 June 2018
Classification Salary ranges
APS 1 $49 321 - $51 253
APS 2 $55 884 - $61 160
APS 3 $62 833 - $67 725
APS 4 $69 911 - $75 831
APS 5 $77 889 - $82 522
APS 6 $84 323 - $96 936
EL 1 $107 230 - $115 724
EL 2 $123 573 - $175 100
SES Band 1 $197 506 - $244 226
SES Band 2  $259 261 - $276 960

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 2017-18, initiatives and outcomes of our Health and Wellbeing Strategy included:

  • sustaining a safe working environment with hazards and risks removed, minimised or managed
  • regular reviews of health and safety polices, guides and fact sheets
  • development and launch of our new Health and Wellbeing framework for 2018-20, which takes a risk-based approach to work health and safety
  • ongoing commitment of the Health and Safety Committee who advised and consulted with the broader agency on workplace health and safety policy-related matters, reviewed trends in claim and incident data and contributed to broader workplace health and safety initiatives
  • providing webinars and information to promote wellbeing initiatives and encouraging employees to actively look after their health
  • implementing a ‘10,000 steps program’ to encourage an active workforce
  • mental health first aid, work health and safety, and resilience training
  • an influenza vaccination program
  • workstation assessments and the provision of sit-to-stand workstations as part of our office refurbishment program to promote good ergonomic practices and prevent body stressing injuries
  • promotion of services through our employee assistance provider such as access to nutritionists, online tutorials and specialist coaches that can provide confidential support on a range of personal issues (e.g. relationships, money, mental health) for individuals and people leaders
  • early intervention and rehabilitation case management services.

The number of accepted workers’ compensation claims continues to decline from previous years, resulting in an ongoing reduction in our Comcare premium. The agency’s initiatives and commitment to early intervention, rehabilitation, return to work principles and ongoing education through our health and wellbeing strategy continues to provide a safe and rewarding workplace for our employees.

Work health and safety incident reporting

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

There were eight notifiable incidents reported to Comcare in 2017-18. These related to building faults, such as electrical and lift malfunctions.

Under section 39 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, we are required to report any investigations conducted during the year into any of our undertakings.

No investigations were conducted in 2017-18.

Property and environmental management

In 2017-18, we reduced property expenditure and size by improving office layouts and acquiring new accommodation where appropriate.

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

Environmental performance

Our initiatives to reduce waste, energy and water consumption, and greenhouse emissions included:

  • sensor lighting in offices, with a timer mechanism switching lighting off when rooms are not occupied
  • trialling light emitting diode (LED) lighting in a small number of new offices
  • participating in Earth Hour 2018, which involved turning off all non-essential lights in our 23 tenancies on 24 March 2018
  • using video conferencing as a sustainable alternative to travel
  • using print-on-demand, requiring staff to swipe their identification card to print, and setting default properties to print in black and white, and doublesided
  • using recycled copy paper
  • implementing paperless processes
  • engaging in scheduled document destruction and recycling of cardboard/paper
  • participating in programs to recycle toner cartridges and mobile phones
  • providing organic matter, recycling and general waste kitchen bins in new accommodation.