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Fair Work Commission

Last updated December 2023

This chapter explains the powers of the Fair Work Commission and how it handles common workplace issues.

What is the Fair Work Commission?

Definition: Fair Work Commission

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is an independent body established under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) to serve as an ‘industrial umpire’.

The FWC has offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and Sydney.

The FWC is made up of the following individuals, in order of seniority:

  • a President;
  • two Vice Presidents (to whom the President may delegate their powers);
  • Deputy Presidents; and
  • Commissioners.

Acting Commissioners may also be appointed for a specified period so the FWC can perform its functions effectively, e.g. to fill a short-term vacancy or to meet a large workload.

Functions of the FWC

The FWC is entrusted with the following functions under the FW Act:

  • dealing with unfair dismissal claims;
  • dealing with anti-bullying claims;
  • dealing with anti-sexual harassment claims;
  • dealing with general protections claims and unlawful termination claims;
  • resolving disputes about flexible work arrangements;
  • resolving disputes about requests to extend unpaid parental leave;
  • setting the national minimum wage and minimum wages in modern awards;
  • making, reviewing and varying modern awards;
  • assisting in the bargaining process for enterprise agreements;
  • terminating enterprise agreements;
  • making orders in relation to industrial action;
  • dealing with disputes brought to the FWC under the dispute resolution procedures of modern awards and enterprise agreements;
  • resolving disputes in relation to stand downs; and
  • determining applications, and resolving disputes in relation to, right of entry permits.