The Fair Work Ombudsman is making it easier for migrant workers to report workplace concerns to the agency by launching its popular Anonymous Report function in 16 languages other than English. The languages include Hindi, Chinese, Arabic and Korean.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said that the new tool was developed to overcome some of the barriers that migrant workers face when dealing with workplace issues. “Factors such as limited English skills, cultural barriers and a lack of awareness of workplace rights mean that migrant workers can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace,” Ms James said. “These same factors also make it difficult for migrant workers to know where or how to seek help. My agency is aiming to break down these barriers and make it as easy as possible for migrant workers to report their concerns to us,” she added.
The Fair Work Ombudsman originally launched the Anonymous Report function in May 2016 to allow the community to report potential workplace breaches, in recognition that some employees are reluctant to complain about workplace issues.
“I would like to reassure visa holders that in line with an agreement between my agency and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, you can seek our assistance without fear of your visa being cancelled” — Natalie James
“Since the launch of the Anonymous Report function, the Fair Work Ombudsman has received more than 10,000 tipoffs with 15 per cent of these coming from visa holders,” Ms James said. “Now migrant workers can tell us their concerns, in their own language, without being identified,” she added.
High profile inquiries by the Fair Work Ombudsman into matters such as 7-11, Woolworths trolley collectors and 4 and 5 star hotel cleaners highlight the prevalence of often deliberate and systematic exploitation of migrant workers. Intelligence gathered via the anonymous report tool enables the agency to target its compliance and education activities. “Improving the employment experience of migrant workers in Australia is a priority for my agency,” Ms James said. “We understand that it can be hard to speak up if you are facing issues at work, but we hope that our new translated Anonymous Report function will encourage more migrant workers to do so,” she added.
“I would like to reassure visa holders that in line with an agreement between my agency and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, you can seek our assistance without fear of your visa being cancelled” Ms James said.
The Fair Work Ombudsman also recently released the ‘Record My Hours’ app aimed at tackling the persistent problem of underpayment of young workers and migrant workers around the country. The app equips workers with a record of the time they spend at their workplace by using geofencing technology to register when they arrive at work and when they leave. The app is available for download from iTunes or Google Play stores and can be accessed in 18 languages.
The Anonymous Report tool can be accessed at www.fairwork.gov.au/inlanguageanonymousreport.
Information about the Fair Work Ombudsman’s agreement with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection can be accessed at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/visa-holders-and-migrants#where-to-get-help. Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94. An interpreter service is available on13 14 50. Information on the Fair Work Ombudsman website is available in 30 different languages.