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Accessorial liability

Last updated August 2023

This chapter examines circumstances in which one party is liable for another party’s contravention of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

When might a third party be liable for an employer’s breach of the law?

Under section 550 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), a person may become liable for another person’s contravention of the FW Act if they are an accessory to the contravention. This is called accessorial liability.

Definition: Accessory

An accessory under the FW Act is a person who is ‘involved in’ a contravention.
Important: ‘Person’ includes a company or partnership.
Definition: Contravention

A contravention is a breach of a civil remedy provision of the FW Act. For example, failing to pay an employee overtime in breach ofan applicable modern award.