Budget 2013: Fair Work receives $21.4 million for crackdown on workplace bullying

The Fair Work Commission has been given $21.4 million in the budget to crack down on workplace bullying, and the Ombudsman has been given more cash too, but $24 million will be stripped from the Fair Work Building Inspectorate agency.

The new money also comes alongside continued funding for the Fair Work Ombudsman over the next four years to continue compliance of Australian businesses.

The government has outlined $21.4 million to be provided to the Fair Work Commission over the next four years to fund legal remedies for victims of workplace bullying.

The funding comes alongside new bullying legislation which is set to take effect from July 1.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said in a statement the crackdown comes alongside reports from the Productivity Commission which show workplace bullying could cost $36 billion in productivity every year.

“This massive cost has to be reduced for the good of individual workers, for the good of business owners and for the good of our national economy,” he said.

“The most productive and profitable workplaces are those where there is respect between workers and employers.”

The FWC will begin hearing bullying complaints from July 1 – although the accompanying Fair Work Amendment has yet to pass through Parliament.

The FWC will have the power to make an order regarding bullying in the workplace where the bullying could not be resolved between the parties involved.

Business groups have been busy informing small businesses about the bullying requirements in preparation for July 1.

Meanwhile the Fair Work Ombudsman will receive $25.7 million over the next four years to continue its compliance and education activities.

The FWO has played a crucial part in monitoring compliance with industrial relations laws. The body continually posts updates on retrieving unpaid employment entitlements and pay, and regularly conducts audits into specific industries or locations.

Over the 2011-12 financial year, the FWO finalised 28.412 complaints and recovered $39.8 million from employers.

But funding for both the workplace bullying compliance and continued funding for the Fair Work Ombudsman will be sourced from the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate.

The government said it will strip $24 million over the next four years from the Inspectorate.

“Savings will be achieved by implementing streamlined administrative and procedural practices reducing travel and training costs and outsourcing some of the administrative functions currently carried out by the Office of the Fair work Building Industry Inspectorate.”

The savings will be redirected to the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, funding for the Fair Work Ombudsman and funding for the Fair Work Commission to resolve bullying disputes.

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