In a speech, Fair Work Ombudsman
(FWO) Natalie James
encouraged the workforce community to make use of the recently launched tip-off system, accessed at the Fair Work website, set up in the wake of increased requests from the public for anonymity in making such reports.
“Compliance with workplace laws isn’t just my business, its everyone’s business, when workers get ripped off, everyone is affected,” said James’s speech.
“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."
Although still in its infancy, the tip-off service is reported to have received more than 500 reports so far, with approximately 75 percent of them flagging issues surrounding wages.
James added that she expects many tip-offs to come from businesses with suspicions that their competitors are not adhering to employment law regarding wages.
"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," she said.
"Of course we won't be storming into a business on the basis of one anonymous tip off - we are looking for trends and patterns here."
The information received will be analysed and collated by the FWO’s intelligence team. In the last financial year, the FWO successfully resolved more than 25,000 workplace disputes, and over 2014-15, recovered more than $22.3 million for over 11,600 workers.
A new online tip-off service has been established that will allow employees and companies to anonymously ‘dob in’ businesses that exploit workers and do not comply with workplace laws.