Compliance powers of the OWS

Q&A

Compliance powers of the OWS

With the Office of Workplace Services (OWS) making news with a number of prosecutions of employers under WorkChoices legislation, understanding the extent of the powers of the Service is important.

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With the Office of Workplace Services (OWS) making news with a number of prosecutions of employers under WorkChoices legislation, understanding the extent of the powers of the Service is important.

A question on the powers of the OWS was recently sent to WorkplaceInfo.

Q. We have been contacted by a government agency called the Office of Workplace Services (OWS) wishing to visit our premises following a complaint from a former employee who is claiming underpayment of wages. What rights do the OWS have in gaining entry to our premises and what information, if any, can they take with them?

A. Whether acting on a specific complaint or of its own initiative, the OWS is entitled to enter an employer's premises and an employer must allow entry to an OWS inspector.

The employer would be required to provide the relevant documents within the time frame specified (usually one week) by the inspector. An OWS inspector can make copies of, retain or take extracts from, relevant documents and interview any person.

The employer must provide any document requested by an OWS inspector.

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