November 2012 Industry Update

Enforceable Undertakings – another regulatory option available to FWBC

FWBC has a range of regulatory options available to it in order to achieve its main object which is to provide a balanced framework for cooperative, productive and harmonious workplace relations in the construction industry.

The Agency has negotiated two Enforceable Undertakings since it was established on 1 June 2012. Last month, FWBC secured $77,538 in unpaid wages and entitlements from a Perth painting company for 54 employees and, in June, it brokered $22,726 in unpaid wages and entitlements plus $250 compensation each for three employees of a North Gold Coast joinery company.

In both cases, the employers committed to undertaking training and improving their workplace relations systems to comply with Federal workplace laws. They also agreed to make donations to organisations that provide workplace relations advice.

An Enforceable Undertaking is a written and signed contract between the parties which the FWBC Chief Executive may accept under section 715 of the FW Act if:

  • He reasonably believes that the person proposed to be subject to the undertaking has contravened Federal workplace relations laws;

  • It is in the public interest and appropriate in all circumstances to resolve the matter through a formal enforcement outcome and

  • The contravention is admitted and the person proposed to be subject to the undertaking is willing to cooperate with FWBC.

The wrongdoer must admit the contravention of workplace relations law, remedy the contravention in the manner specified and acknowledge that FWBC may take legal action against them if they don’t comply.

This approach achieves justice for the workers, improves the management of the enterprise and signals to other building and construction employers that FWBC is serious about the rule of law.

Other regulatory options available to FWBC include litigation, Compliance Notices, a letter of caution, referral to small claims procedures or referral to other dispute resolution mechanisms (i.e mediation).

Further information:

FWBC Media statement – FWBC obtains $77,538 in back-pay for WA painters 
FWBC Media statement – FWBC secures enforceable undertaking
FWBC Litigation Policy

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