The Fair Work Ombudsman is a statutory office created by the Fair Work Act 2009. The Fair Work Ombudsman’s jurisdiction is set out in the Fair Work Act, but the person appointed as the Ombudsman operates independently of Government.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s functions include promoting harmonious, productive and cooperative workplace relations and ensuring compliance with Commonwealth workplace laws. The services of the Fair Work Ombudsman are free to all workers and employers in Australia.
In particular, the Fair Work Ombudsman:
- offers people a single point of contact for them to get accurate and timely information about Australia’s workplace relations system (via their website)
- educates people working in Australia about fair work practices, rights and obligations
- investigates complaints or suspected contraventions of workplace laws, awards and agreements
- litigates to enforce workplace laws and deter people from doing wrong in the community
- builds strong and effective relationships with industry, unions and other stakeholders.
The Fair Work Ombudsman office works closely with Fair Work Australia to ensure the two organisations provide integrated, timely, relevant and accessible services to all Australians.
Fair Work Australia is the national workplace relations tribunal. It started operations on 1 July 2009, along with the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman, as part of a new national workplace relations system underpinned by the Fair Work Act (2009). Fair Work Australia is an independent body with power to carry out a range of functions relating to:
- the safety net of minimum wages and employment conditions
- enterprise bargaining
- industrial action
- dispute resolution
- termination of employment
- other workplace matters.
The Australian Taxation Office is a part of every business landscape anyway, but if you employ staff you will need to deal with the ATO regarding tax payments for your employees, the superannuation guarantee, fringe benefits tax and a number of record-keeping requirements relating to employment. All employers need to be registered with the ATO.
Employers in every state and territory must comply with Commonwealth and State legislation regarding Occupational (or Workplace) Health and Safety. You must also pay a levy as part of the workers’ compensation scheme, which provides medical, rehabilitation and compensation services to anyone injured at work. Severe penalties apply for employers who do not meet their obligations under OH&S and workers’ compensation legislation.