Powers of Fair Work Inspectors

Fair Work Inspectors are government officials appointed by the Fair Work Ombudsman. They have the power to enter a workplace at any time during working hours, or at any other time that the  Fair Work Inspector believes is necessary for  compliance purposes,  if they reasonable believe:

  • the Fair Work Act 2009 or a Fair Work instrument (e.g. an award or agreement) applies to the workplace
  • records or documents relevant to compliance are on the premises (including documents on a computer).

On the spot fines

Fair Work Inspectors may issue on the spot infringement notices where they reasonably believe an employer has contravened the record-keeping and pay slip obligations contained in the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Fair Work Regulations 2009.

The maximum fines payable from an infringement notice are:

  • $540 per contravention for an individual
  • $2700 per contravention for a body corporate.

Court ordered penalties

Fair Work Inspectors can also recommend taking matters to court. If this happens and litigation is successful, employers may face court orders, including:

  • penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention for an individual
  • penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention for a body corporate
  • orders to pay the employee what they're owed (plus interest)
  • orders granting an injunction or interim injunction
  • orders awarding the employee compensation for loss suffered
  • orders to reinstate an employee, which may mean the employee must be given their job back
  • orders to correct the discrimination.

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