FWO recovers $40 million for workers in 2018-2019

The Fair Work Ombudsman's 2018-19 Annual Report reveals a significant increase in recovered wages and firm enforcement of workplace laws.

Fair Work Inspectors recovered more than $40 million for 18,000 underpaid employees during the financial year - the highest total recoveries figure in the regulator's history.

In 2018-19, the FWO resolved more than 29,000 workplace disputes between workers and businesses. There was a record 17.8 million visits to www.fairwork.gov.au to access our information and the Fair Work Infoline answered 380,000 calls from workers and employers.

The FWO had 67 matters before the courts as of 30 June 2019, in many cases alleging exploitation of vulnerable workers. Over 80 per cent of new litigations involved protecting migrant workers, with the agency securing court penalties of $1.8 million in matters including this cohort.

The FWO secured more than $4.4 million in court-ordered penalties, including a record penalty of $105,000 for a business's failure to comply with Fair Work Commission Orders. 

Over 50 per cent of litigations filed involved businesses in the fast food, restaurants and cafe sector. The FWO secured $1.6 million in court penalties against employers in the sector.

Inspectors issued $479,900 in on-the-spot fines for pay slip and record-keeping breaches.

Anonymous reports to the FWO increased, with over 16,000 reports received, which included over 1200 reports made in languages other than English. Inspectors conducted more than 2800 workplace audits, strategically targeting sectors at high risk of non-compliance.