From the Fair Work Ombudsman: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces – Consultation with migrant workers and those on temporary visa.
The Australian Human Rights Commission is leading a National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. Information about the National Inquiry and the full Terms of Reference can be found here.
The Commission would like to invite you or a representative from your organisation to a consultation that focuses specifically on migrant workers and people on temporary visas’ experiences of workplace sexual harassment. We would also be grateful for your assistance to share the details of this consultation with your networks.
The consultation will take place on Friday 15 February 2019, 9:30am – 11am at Settlement Services International, 2/158 Liverpool Road Ashfield NSW 2131. You can register to attend the consultation via this link.
If you have any questions, please contact the Commission’s National Inquiry team at SH.Inquiry@humanrights.gov.au or on (02) 9284 9750.
Online submissions — the closing date for online submissions to the National Inquiry is 28 February 2019. You can make an online submission to the National Inquiry here.
National Inquiry information and updates — for news and updates, you can subscribe to the National Inquiry website here.
The Commission is confident that this National Inquiry, by bringing together evidence, expertise and a range of views, will achieve the positive change that is clearly needed and looks forward to working together with you to develop solutions which will help ensure safe and respectful Australian workplaces.
SANiTy STATE CONFERENCE
‘Workplace issues, Careers and Employability
2018 has been a year of adapting and complying with the new National Code, making sure paperwork and programs are appropriate for our students.
SANiTy would now like to look forward and offer a broad program looking at graduate experiences, visas and skilled migration, fair work, internships and more. We will look past the lecture theatres and tutorial rooms to the bright futures and opportunities available.
We will share best practice through the eyes of graduates and employers and show how the government is supporting employment prospects through visas and the Employer
Dates: Wednesday, 24 October
Time: 9.15am for 9.30am start
Location: The University of Adelaide
Schulz Building Room 307
Cost: $50.00 members or $200 for non-members
RSVP: Wednesday, 17 October 2018
Highlights of the Conference
• Excellent networking opportunities with a variety of international education stakeholders
• Exposure to effective programs delivered first hand by experts
• Exploring best practice from a local and national perspective
It is important that delegates feel connected, supported and empowered in all areas of
This conference aims to bring participants together to explore
potential challenges in a supportive environment. By attending the conference, participants
will benefit enormously from connecting with more experienced peers, gain valuable exposure to issues they may encounter and derive important feedback for their workplace
We are delighted that Information For Impact: Enabling Education Providers To Address Exploitation Of International Students In Accommodation And At Work has been successfully selected as a StudyNSW Partner Project for 2018-19.
ISANA NSW is a central partner in this landmark project. In addition to UNSW Sydney and UTS: Sydney, other partners include English Australia, the Fair Work Ombudsman, Redfern Legal Centre, education agents, and CISA.
You can find more resources here including a range of translations.
Visa holders & migrants: information and help available in 30 languages http://www.fairwork.gov.au/languages
Record keeping Do you get pay slips? It’s a legal requirement. Try asking your boss as a first step if you’re not getting one https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/pay-slips-and-record-keeping/pay-slips
Deductions FAQ: Is it ok or dodgy for a work uniform ‘deposit’ to be taken from your first pay? It’s not a lawful deduction https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/deducting-pay-and-overpayments
Tips for young workers Compulsory meetings = $ payment. Food, clothing or other store products are no substitute https://www.fairwork.gov.au/find-help-for/young-workers-and-students/myths-and-tips-for-young-workers
Ever broken something at work & had it docked from your pay? It’s not ok! https://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/deducting-pay-and-overpayments
New strategy to raise international students’ awareness of workplace rights
The Fair Work Ombudsman is reaching out to international students to encourage them to seek free help from the agency if they experience any issues while working in Australia.
The agency has launched a new strategy aimed at raising awareness of workplace rights among international students, who make up a large proportion of temporary entrants to Australia – numbering more than 560,000 as at July 2017.
In an open letter to international students published today, Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James is encouraging international students to get informed about their workplace rights and, if unsure, seek help.
Ms James has also urged international students to speak up if they have any concerns in relation to their employment, underlining that they have the same workplace rights as all other workers in Australia.
“The number of international students reporting issues to the Fair Work Ombudsman is disproportionately low compared to other categories of visa holders, despite the fact that international students represent a significant proportion of overseas visitors with work rights,” Ms James said.
“We know that international students can be reluctant to speak out when something is wrong, making them particularly vulnerable to exploitation. This is especially the case when students think that seeking assistance will damage future job prospects or lead to the cancellation of their visa.
“We’ve seen cases where employers have threatened international students with deportation for working more than the number of hours permitted under their visa when they have raised questions about their entitlements.
“In some cases these same employers have altered payslips and underpaid hourly rates in order to disguise the number of hours the student has worked,” Ms James said.
“I would like to reassure international students 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, even if you’ve worked more hours than you should have under your visa.”
The conduct against international students the Fair Work Ombudsman sees is often serious and highly exploitative.
This is reflected by the large percentage of cases the Fair Work Ombudsman files in court that involve one or more international students, despite the low numbers of international students reporting issues to the agency.
Last financial year, 49 per cent of litigations the Fair Work Ombudsman filed in court involved a visa holder – over a third of these involving an international student.
Research commissioned by the Fair Work Ombudsman found that many international students were not aware of their rights under Australian workplace laws and did not know where to go for help.
Some students told researchers they had been subject to intimidation by their employers, who threatened to deport or “blacklist” them for future work if they complained.
“The research showed that when it comes to international students in the Australian workplace, 60 per cent believe that if they report a workplace issue to their employer the situation will either remain the same, or get worse,” Ms James said.
“Our international student strategy focuses on raising international students’ awareness of their workplace rights and letting them know that they can come to the Fair Work Ombudsman for free advice and assistance.
“We know that it can be difficult to understand what is right or wrong at work, or to speak up if you are concerned.
“This is why we are committed to making it as easy as possible for international students to access the help they need,” Ms James said.
Ms James encourages all international students to get informed by visiting the Fair Work Ombudsman website, which has information available in 30 different languages.
Resources available on the website to help workers understand their rights and entitlements include the Pay and Conditions Tool at www.fairwork.gov.au/pay, which can be used to calculate the correct pay rates that apply to their work.
The Fair Work Ombudsman also recently launched its popular Anonymous Report function in 16 languages other than English, enabling non-English speakers to report potential workplace breaches in their own language, without being identified. The tool can be accessed at www.fairwork.gov.au/inlanguageanonymousreport.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s ‘Record My Hours’ app is aimed at tackling the persistent problem of underpayment of young workers and migrant workers around the country. The app, which 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, is available for download from iTunes or Google Play stores.
International students seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or our Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.
Below is a list of some recent matters investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman involving international students:
- Meatball and Wine Bar faces court for allegedly underpaying 26 workers, including visa holders
- Pizza Hut franchisee underpaid staff almost $20,000
- Joint operation uncovers alleged exploitation of overseas workers at Melbourne restaurants
- Melbourne cafe operator back in Court after 54 employees allegedly underpaid $73,000
- Penalties for blatant contraventions in popular Perth restaurant chain
- $72 000 in penalties after international student exploited, dismissed by text message
- Brisbane 7-Eleven outlet faces Court action
- Cleaning operator penalised for refusing to back-pay international students
- Labour-hire contractor signs workplace pact after underpaying Korean workers thousands of dollars
Work exploitation of international students
The recent story on SBS on the exploitation of international students in the Vietnamese hospitality sector is unfortunately not a new story. It is distressing to read that the exploitation of vulnerable international students is a continued practice. The article does note importantly that it takes two parties for this practice to occur. Students are sometimes willing to accept poor working conditions because they are either ignorant of their rights or preferring to accept under-payment to unemployment. ISANA reminds all members of the news in an earlier newsletter where we informed members of efforts by DIBP and the FWO to address work exploitation of international students. Here is the excerpt:
Temporary visa holder like international students with a work entitlement and who may have been exploited, need to be aware that DIBP will generally not cancel a visa, detain or remove individuals, provided they have reported their circumstance to the FWO. Please make this information known to your international students. For more information, please refer to the media release from Minister for Employment, Sen. M Cash and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Hon P Dutton of 15 February 2017.
ISANA National President
Mary Ann Seow
A position has become available for a Student Adviser, Student Life, UNSW Global Education, UNSW Global. This is a full-time, ongoing position. (details below)
Applications should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday 14 August quoting reference number 267.
For a copy of the position description and selection criteria, please visit the UNSW Global website https://unswglobal.unsw.edu.au/jobs/
Are you a Student Experience specialist? – Check these opportunities out!