Industry news

FWO's sights set on large corporates and priority sectors for year ahead

FWO's sights set on large corporates and priority sectors for year ahead
Courtney Ford
Courtney Ford
minute read
July 14, 2022
Workforce compliance

 What are the FWO’s strategic priorities? 

While continuing to focus on small business and vulnerable workers, the FWO will largely be turning their attention to universities, fast food, restaurants and cafes, agriculture, and contract cleaning and key priority sectors. Their Compliance and Enforcement Priorities focus on industries that are at risk of non-compliance. For 2022/2023, their focus will be on large corporates (including where non-compliance has been self-reported) and sham contracting.

Large corporates 

  • The FWO’s focus is firmly on Australia’s largest corporates for the year ahead. 
  • Ombudsman Sandra Parker indicated that the regulator was investigating around 50 large corporates who had self-reported non-compliance in her announcement.


  • The universities sector is a new focus for the regulator in 2022/23. 
  • Universities have self-reported significant underpayments in recent times, particularly to their casual employees. 
  • Quoting Ms Parker in her announcement, the FWO’s investigations have found "trends of poor governance and management oversight," and "a lack of centralised human resources functions and investment in payroll and time-recording systems." 
  • Ms Parker said the FWO expects to be taking "high-level enforcement action against a number of universities this year" and has urged universities to prioritise their workforce compliance. 


  • As part of the FWO’s continued focus on vulnerable workers, agriculture has become a priority sector this year due to its reliance on visa holders, who are typically at greater risk of exploitation by employers. 

Other priorities 

  • Fast food, restaurants and cafes, and contract cleaning companies will be targeted by the FWO this year. 
  • Sham contracting - where an employer disguises an employment relationship, either recklessly or intentionally, as a contracting arrangement - will continue to be a major focus across industries. 


With the FWO’s strategic priorities made clear for the year ahead, along with the introduction of the Wage Theft Act in Victoria, now is the time for all large organisations – whether they are in priority sectors or not – to address their compliance concerns before being contacted by the FWO. 

Yellow Canary can help take the stress out of workforce compliance. Reach out if you would like to learn more about our Always on Compliance solution for your business at  

* Yellow Canary content on this website is intended solely for the purpose of offering commentary and general knowledge. The content is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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