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The difference between the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work Commission

Updated: 1 December 2019

Did you know that the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman are both separate Australian government organisations? 

We'll go through each of their roles below. 

First, let's start with the ombudsman. 

Fair Work Ombudsman 

The ombudsman’s role is mostly to educate and to enforce laws like the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Also, they provide advice about pay and work conditions to employees and employers. 

Here are some examples of their work: 

  • enforce workplace laws and apply penalties for breaches; and 
  • also enforce certain orders made by the fair work commission. 

So what exactly is the commission’s role? We’ll look at that next. 

The Fair Work Commission 

The fair work commission is a tribunal. They set minimum wages and workplace conditions. 

Here are some examples of what they do: 

  • help employees and employers make, vary or terminate enterprise agreements
  • deal with bullying applications
  • make orders about industrial action like work bans, lock-outs and lock-outs. 
  • hold mediation, conciliation and public tribunals to resolve work disputes
  • make workplace determinations, hear and decide on equal pay cases, transfer of business, stand down, general protections and right of entry.


Vivian Michael

Vivian Michael is a lawyer and founder of Michael Law Group. Vivian's mission is to deliver the best quality business legal services to entrepreneurs launching an Australian business, wherever they are in the globe.

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