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The fair work ombudsman and your members

2 min read

According to its website, the Fair Work Ombudsman is the promoter of harmonious, productive and co-operative workplace relations across Australia’s workplaces. The Fair Work Ombudsman is also the national workplace investigator and, in this role, the Ombudsman has been targeting specific industries to ensure industry wide compliance with the new workplace relations legislation.

As part of their role, Fair Work Ombud-sman inspectors conduct campaigns and audits across many workplaces within specific industries at different times. These audits can be conducted on any organisation at any time, and Inspectors will examine employment records to ensure compliance with the Fair Work Act, the National Employment Standards, modern awards and enterprise agreements.

In the first six months of this year, Fair Work campaigns have been conducted in the following industries:

  • Cleaning
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Pharmacies
  • Caravan parks
  • Fitness
  • Real estate
  • Fast food
  • Community expos and markets
  • Transport
  • Supermarkets
  • .

Inspectors audit all types of organis-ations: new and old; corporate and not-for-profit; urban and regional. With over 50 offices across Australia, the Fair Work Ombudsman has an active presence throughout the country.

Implications for industry associations

The Fair Work Ombudsman will sometimes warn industry associations that inspectors are about to commence a campaign in your industry. However, sometimes it will be your members that first let you know when they seek assistance in response to a direction by an inspector.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has broad powers under the legislation and can issue directions to an organisation both during and following an audit. They also respond to complaints from employees regarding breaches of legislation. Complying with a direction from the Ombudsman does not just mean correcting an error, but ensuring adequate processes are in place to ensure the organisation remains compliant in the future. This can be both time-consuming and costly. Once you have been identified as non-compliant you will in all likelihood continue to be monitored.

As an industry association, now is the time to ensure your members are aware of their employment obligations and are complying with the new workplace relations laws. McIlroy IR Group assists industry associations by providing the necessary resources to support their members in this rapidly-changing workplace relations environment.

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