Diamonds Background Image Diamonds Background Image

Fines for employer who failed to provide employees with Fair Work Information Statements

Author: Robert Lamb
2 min read
11 March 2020

Key Takeaways

  • All new employees must be given a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement before, or as soon as possible after, they start employment.
  • Failure to do so can result in financial penalties of up to $54,000.
  • A recent case where an employer failed to provide the statement to three employees led to a $2,700 fine.

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia recently imposed a penalty of $2,700 on an employer for failing to provide Fair Work Information Statements to three employees after they were employed.

It is important to note that the employees suffered no financial loss because of the employer’s failure to provide the Fair Work Information Statements.

Notwithstanding that, the Court found that the failure to provide a Fair Work Information Statement undermines an employee’s ability to understand and be conscious of their rights and entitlements, and as such was of the view that a penalty ought to be imposed.

While the maximum penalty in this case could have been $54,000, the Court imposed a penalty of $2,700 – or 5% of the maximum.

The Fair Work Act states that each employee must be provided with a Fair Work Information Statement before, or as soon as practical after, they start employment.

This statement should include the information and conditions of employment as well as the National Employment Standards. 

In arriving at its decision and determining an appropriate penalty in this case, the Court took into account the following factors:

  • There was no deliberate breach of the Fair Work Act as the employer was unaware of their obligation to provide the Fair Work Information Statements
  • The contraventions were of a low to moderate severity and caused no financial loss to the employees
  • The employer had no record of previous adverse findings in relation to contravening any provisions of workplace legislation
  • Evidence showed the employer regretted its action and had taken steps to ensure no further breaches would occur
  • Civil penalties are designed not to be retributive

This case clearly demonstrates that each employer has an obligation to provide new employees with the current Fair Work Information Statement before, or as soon as possible after, they have accepted an offer of employment.

The Fair Work Information Statement can be downloaded from Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman here. 

The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.

Stay Up-To-Date

Subscribe to receive updates specific to your preferences.


More Knowledge

All posts