13 13 94
The Fair Work Ombudsman provides employees, employers and the general community with information on workplace rights and responsibilities. They can give you guidance on where to find information, as well as specific information on pay, entitlements (such as personal and annual leave) based on your sector. As a government department they’re available for general guidance but they generally maintain a fairly neutral stance on workplace issues.
Their website can be tailored, allowing you to select the industry you work in. They’ve also recognised the complexity of workplace law by creating video content to help explain your entitlements.
1300 799 675
The Fair Work Commission is the national workplace relations tribunal – like a court for workers. It’s the place to go if you plan on lodging a dispute, such as an unfair dismissal. It’s also the body that sets the minimum standards for employment – after employers, industry bodies and unions battle it out behind the scenes. You can find the relevant forms on their website, as well as recent copies of Workplace Agreements.
1300 486 466
Unions have received a bad reputation, some justified and some not. But, at it’s core, a union is a group of members who work together to change workplace conditions. Unions provide their members with information, advice and support. Different unions operate differently but the general premise is that union members get access to expert industrial advice. This ranges from answers to questions about rights at work to support when dealing with workplace issues.
There are 46 major unions in Australia and it’s not possible to list them all here. You can search for your industry and see what comes up but it might be easier to simply filling the form on the Australian Unions’ website and wait to hear back. They also have other benefits, depending on the union, which may or may not include coverage to and from work (depending on the state) and professional indemnity insurance (again, depends on the union and the state you live/work in).
Working Women’s Centres were established as a community organisation to support vulnerable women who are dealing with workplace issues, as well as those want to enter the workforce but are unable to do so. You might not think you classify as vulnerable but you also might be surprised. Here’s where it’s vital to think big picture and compare your working conditions to those around you. Certain industries are highly feminised (as in there are many more female workers than male workers) and many of these tend to receive lower pay and more uncertain working conditions (such as casual or contract work). Not to mention those who have family responsibilities (which can include caring for an immediate family member who is unwell). These are just a couple examples, many more are listed on the Working Women’s Centre’s website.
Only three states have specific Working Women’s Centres but check out their website for your own state as there may be alternative support options available.
1300 656 419
Sometimes workplace behaviour moves away from everyday interpersonal conflict and more towards workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination. The Australian Human Rights Commission receives complaints where a person feels discriminated against based on their sex; disability; race; age; sexual preference; criminal record; trade union activity; political opinion; and religion or social origin. It’s best to check out the Complaint’s section of their website because these overarching attributes often contain more specific attributes such as pregnancy and marital status.
State-based bodies also have avenues available for those wishing to lodge a complaint.
- ACT: ACT Human Rights Commission
- New South Wales: Anti-Discrimination Board
- Northern Territory: NT Anti-Discrimination Commission (NTADC)
- Queensland: Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ)
- South Australia: Equal Opportunity Commission of South Australia (EOC)
- Tasmania: Equal Opportunity Tasmania
- Victoria: Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
- Western Australia: Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC)