Fair Work – Part One

More often than not, when the words Fair Work are muttered in a HR sense there is a negative connotation associated with it. And while yes, potentially it can be coined this way, there are also some positives that need to be explained. 

Many focus on media-covered Fair Work hearings or personal negative experiences with the Commission. Regardless of the backstory, it’s vital to understand the Commission offers consistent, independent advisory enforcing Australia’s Fair Work Act for employment.

As such, we thought it might be useful to explain some of the services and assistance that Fair Work Australia provides. It is a very broad scoping service, and you may not know that they offer that support to both employers and employees alike. Given the fear that is associated with some of their work, we thought it might be useful to also explain how some of their hearings work.

Back to Basics

But first and foremost, let’s get back to basics.  One of the first things we need to address is that there are two parties when it comes to Fair Work: the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Fair Work Ombudsman regulates compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009. As mentioned above, this is one of the primary pieces of legislation that govern the employment relationship in most of Australia’s private workplaces. It is the foundation of all minimum standards and regulations for employment that fall within the national workplace system.

Essentially, the Fair Work Ombudsman enforces laws, examines Awards and Bargain Agreements, aiding businesses. It offers guidance, education, and support on pay, rights, and workplace obligations for both employers and employees

This type of advice is provided through a free telephone help line, as well as an online portal. Both employees and employers can register on this portal.

Quality of Advice

Nevertheless, it’s important to acknowledge that the quality of the advice you receive relies on the information you give. The Fair Work Ombudsman will not provide you with legal advice. If your situation is ambiguous, you’ll need to gather further information to be provided a solution. In saying that, you may also receive different advice through a different consultant.

Employees at times seek Fair Work Ombudsman advice but may find it irrelevant due to incomplete or information that is out of context. This isn’t worrisome; it’s about comprehending requests when someone mentions Fair Work. Despite its common HR association, it’s not alarming; you can verify with Fair Work Ombudsman. Remember, transparent communication is key for a solid employer-employee relationship.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where someone comes to you and states, “I’ve spoken to Fair Work,” and they are requesting additional entitlements, don’t automatically assume that they are correct. Most importantly, don’t pay out these entitlements without checking with a professional first. That is where we can help – [email protected] or meet with our team.

Join us for Part 2 as we look at the role of the Fair Work Commission.

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