Fair Work Ombudsman’s 2021-2022 Priorities

Published August 2021

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has recently announced their strategic priorities for the 2021 – 2022 financial year. These are a must read for employers to understand where the FWO will be focusing their efforts.

Key Priority: As many workplaces are slowly recovering from the harsh impacts of COVID-19, with the pandemic causing severe disruption to all areas of business, the Fair Work Ombudsman has announced they will continue to support workplaces through the pandemic and recovery phase, particularly the industries which have been hit the hardest. However, their focus on compliance also remains strong.


Priority Issues and Sectors

  • Fast Food, Restaurants, and cafes;

  • Horticulture;

  • Sham contracting;

  • Large corporate underpayments;

  • Franchise arrangements; and

  • Contract cleaning.

Small Business employers and employees and vulnerable workers will continue to be prioritised by the FWO, by focusing on matters that:

  • Are of significant public interest;

  • Demonstrate a blatant disregard of the law;

  • Are of significant scale, impact on workers or the community, or

  • Can provide guidance on the application of the law.

The FWO intends to approach these priorities by:

  • Providing education, advice, tools and resources;

  • Supporting small businesses and those sectors hardest hit by COVID-19;

  • Upholding the integrity of the JobKeeper scheme; and

  • Prioritising vulnerable workers.

To find out more information about the FWO key priorities for 2021 – 22 click here.



Employers should familiarise themselves with the new financial year responsibilities and take steps to ensure their commercial protection. We have provided some suggestions below:


1. Ensure your employment agreements are up to date or have them professionally drafted. This is of particular importance if you employ casuals as there were significant changes to legislation earlier in 2021. You can read everything you need to know in our Ultimate Guide to Casual Employment here.


To have an employment agreement professionally drafted or should you have an existing employment agreement which you would like reviewed and updated, please contact Emma Edwards on 0459 818 011 to discuss how we can help.


2. Investigate and understand which Modern Award/s apply to your team and ensure employees are being paid correctly. Don’t forget to look into the entitlements that are often missed such as allowances and overtime rates. Read through our Quick Pay Guide here for guidance around this.


3. Conduct regular pay and HR audits. More than 95% of businesses we speak with have at least two HR practices that are non-compliant with Australian employment legislation or a Modern Award. Consider a HR Health Check or tailored Compliance Audit by Edwards HR. and let us help you understand your obligations and get back on track. Read more here or contact us today.


4. Review any contractor arrangements you have and ensure they are true contractor arrangements. You can read about contractor vs. employee arrangements on the ATO and Fair Work Ombudsman’s websites. Also ensure your arrangements are documented appropriately. Contact the Edwards HR team to find out how we can help.

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