Fair Work Ombudsman to gain new powers

The federal government’s vulnerable workers legislation, which it says is to crack down on franchisee underpayments, would give the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) coercive powers to investigate unions and compulsorily obtain information from workers over suspected unlawful industrial action.

Employment Minister Senator Michaelia Cash said on August 16 the new law would mean the FWO could obtain evidence of "discrimination, coercion, conduct relating to false records, unprotected industrial action, accessorial liability, unfair dismissal [and] bullying claims".

The bill, which increases the penalties for serious underpayments and makes franchisors liable for franchisee underpayments, will be voted on in September.

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