Fair Work launches anonymous tip-off service

27 May, 2016 by
Danielle Bowling

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James has launched an “Anonymous Report” function, allowing the community to dob in businesses that aren’t complying with workplace laws.

“Compliance with workplace laws isn’t just my business, it’s everyone’s business – when workers get ripped off, everyone is affected,” she said.

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“I’ve had enough of hearing about workers getting paid $10 an hour, so I am putting the call out to the whole community – workers, consumers, concerned citizens, businesses, everyone – to help us build a culture of compliance.

“If you suspect a business is exploiting its workers, or if something doesn’t seem right, we want you to tell us – we want to know.”

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The form is available at www.fairwork.gov.au/tipoff, and while the Fair Work Ombudsman expects to hear from employees, it also wants to hear from employers who are concerned that other businesses might be getting a competitive advantage by engaging in unlawful practices.

“Businesses that want to do the right thing by their workers, and they are the majority in my experience, can’t compete with those who are willing to give themselves a competitive edge by undercutting labour costs,” James said.

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Since going live, the Anonymous Report site has received more than 500 tip-offs, three-quarters of them raising issues about wage rates.

“The information will be collated and analysed by our Intelligence Team, which will report on trends and generate leads for our compliance areas to follow up,” James said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s existing dispute resolution processes will continue to help employees and employers resolve workplace issues directly.

Last financial year, the Fair Work Ombudsman resolved more than 25,000 workplace disputes and finalised 94 percent of requests for assistance through its assessment and dispute resolution processes.

In 2014-15, the Agency recovered more than $22.3 million for over 11,600 workers.

The sectors generating the most requests for assistance last year were accommodation and food services (15 percent), construction (12 percent), administration and support services (nine percent), retail (nine percent) and manufacturing (eight percent).