Resolving issues & getting help
Issues in the workplace can sometimes be awkward and challenging to deal with. We have tips and tools that will help you take action and prepare you to talk to your employer.
If you can’t resolve an issue, you can contact us for help.
On this page:
Help in your language
For workplace advice in your language, you can:
- translate pages by choosing your language from the menu at the top of the page
- find information and resources in our Language help section
- call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask them to call us on 13 13 94.
Resolving a problem
Most workplace issues happen because there’s been a breakdown in communication or a misunderstanding.
If you’re worried that you’re not getting the right pay or entitlements, take the following steps:
If you need help with bullying, sexual harassment or discrimination, see our Dealing with workplace bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination as a young person page.
Check the law
The first thing you should do is check what your rights are. You can do this by looking at:
- the National Employment Standards
- your award or enterprise agreement, if one applies
- the National Minimum Wage order, if you’re not covered by an award or enterprise agreement.
Remember, minimum pay rates and entitlements depend on:
- the award or enterprise agreement that applies
- the type of work you do
- whether you’re full-time, part-time or casual
- your age.
Calculate your pay, penalties, allowances and leave entitlements with our Pay and Conditions Tool.
Gather supporting information
Before you speak to your manager, it’s a good idea to gather some supporting information so you can show them why you think there’s an issue. This may include:
- your pay slip
- payment summaries or bank statements that show what you’ve been paid
- notes or records about hours of work, significant events, conversations and meetings
- the relevant parts of the award or enterprise agreement
- rosters and timesheets.
Talk to your manager
We know that it can be uncomfortable to talk with your manager about a problem you may be having at work. Your manager may not realise there is a problem or that a mistake has been made until you bring it to their attention.
If you don’t want to speak to your manager, think about whether you could speak to another senior person or a human resources officer.
Tools and resources
If you're not sure how to start a conversation, we have resources with important information and tips to help you prepare:
- Difficult conversations in the workplace employee online course – Practice with interactive scenarios
- Step-by-step guides for common workplace problems – Follow our guides for issues such as:
- Unfair treatment at work video – Learn about the steps you can follow and tips for having a difficult conversation.
Put your issue in writing
If you’ve spoken to your manager and haven’t been able to resolve the issue, it’s a good idea to put your concerns in writing in a letter (keep a copy) or via email.
See our An employee’s guide to resolving workplace issues for tips on writing to your manager.
If the issue still isn’t resolved, you may want to get further help from a third party.
A third party might be:
- a union
- a solicitor
- a court.
It’s a good idea to gather any records you need to support your claim. Your employer is legally required to keep records about your employment, including how much you’ve been paid and the hours you’ve worked.
To ask your employer for your employment records, you can create a personalised letter using our Request for records interactive template.
Getting help from us
If you’ve tried to fix your problem at work, you can’t find the information you need or you have more questions, we’re here to help you.
What we can help with
The FWO can help with:
- underpayment of minimum entitlements under the Fair Work Act, an award or an enterprise agreement, such as:
- pay rates
- notice of termination
- general employment conditions under the Fair Work Act, an award or an enterprise agreement
- breaches of the National Employment Standards (NES).
What we can’t help with
The FWO can’t help with some things, including issues that happened more than 6 years ago.
Find out who to contact if your question is about:
- tax or superannuation disputes
- bullying and harassment claims
- workplace health and safety laws and disputes
- unfair dismissal claims
- issuing employment separation certificates.
How to get in touch with us
The easiest way to ask for our help is to contact us by:
- calling our Infoline
- submitting an online enquiry in our My Account customer portal (we may still call you to clarify the information you have provided).
When you contact us, you’ll speak to a trained adviser. They’ll ask you some questions to:
- check that the workplace problem is something we can help with
- understand what steps you have already taken to address any problems yourself.
Find out more about how you can Get our help with your workplace issue.
It’s important to know that international students can come to us for help if they're having workplace issues, without fear of their visa being cancelled.
Check out our videos below to see how we have helped international students. You’ll learn how each student had a different workplace problem and how we helped sort each one out.
Case study 1 – Felipe’s story
Felipe shares his story about how we helped increase his awareness of workplace rights, including busting a common workplace myth. Felipe’s story is based on a true story.
Case study 2 – Jessica’s story
Jessica tells her story about how we helped her sort out workplace issues about pay and hours of work. Jessica’s story is based on a true story.
Are you an international student? Learn more about workplace rights and protections at Visa holders and migrants.