About the Fair Work Ombudsman

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Who are we?

The Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman is an independent statutory agency created by the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act). The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and head of the agency is Natalie James. The FWO is supported by staff who  assist with the performance of workplace compliance and advisory functions set out in the FW Act. 

The FWO has offices throughout Australia that are located in the capital cities and regional areas of all states and territories.

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What do we do?

The role of the FWO is to promote harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations. The FWO also monitors, inquires into, investigates, and enforces compliance Australia’s workplace laws.

Our free services include:

  • a single point of contact for reliable and timely information about Australia’s workplace relations system
  • educating people working in Australia about fair work practices, rights and obligations
  • assessing complaints or suspected breaches of workplace laws, awards and registered agreements and some Fair Work Commission orders
  • litigating in some circumstances to enforce workplace laws and deter people from doing wrong in the community
  • building strong and effective relationships with industry, unions and other stakeholders.

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How do we do it?

The staff at the FWO are committed to providing advice you can rely on and assisting employers and employees resolve issues in the workplace. The FWO also appoints Fair Work Inspectors empowered to investigate and enforce compliance with Australia’s workplace laws and industrial instruments, including:

  • provisions of the FW Act, such as terms and conditions of employment and record-keeping and pay slip obligations
  • the National Employment Standards
  • provisions of the Independent Contractors Act 2006, including prohibited conduct in relation to reform opt‑in agreements
  • enterprise agreements and agreement-based transitional instruments (including Australian Workplace Agreements, Individual Transitional Employment Agreements, Collective Agreements, and certain other agreements made prior to 1 July 2009)
  • modern awards and award-based transitional instruments (including Federal Awards, Notional Agreements Preserving State Awards, State Reference Transitional Awards, and Division 2B state awards)
  • orders of the Fair Work Commission.

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When should you ask the FWO for help?

The FWO offers employees and employers free information and advice on pay, conditions, and workplace rights and obligations. To check your workplace rights and obligations, you should go to www.fairwork.gov.au. You can request assistance from the FWO if you:

  • are covered by the FW Act or one of the industrial instruments set out above
  • know you aren’t getting the correct pay, conditions or workplace rights.

You can also request assistance from the FWO if you think your employer (or prospective employer) is unlawfully discriminating against you.

If you run a business, the Fair Work Infoline can assist you if you are confused about your rights and obligations as an employer. This includes advice about pay rates, terms and conditions of employment for employees, record keeping and pay slip obligations, and other rights and obligations under the FW Act.

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Contact us

Fair Work Online: www.fairwork.gov.au

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94

Need language help?

Contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50

Hearing & speech assistance

Call through the National Relay Service (NRS):

  • For TTY: 13 36 77. Ask for the Fair Work Infoline 13 13 94
  • Speak & Listen: 1300 555 727. Ask for the Fair Work Infoline 13 13 94

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