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If your employer does not follow an order made by the Fair Work Commission (the Commission), you may be able to apply to the Federal Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for orders enforcing the Commission's decision. These Courts can order that compensation be paid to you for any loss you have suffered and fine your employer.
If your employer does not follow an order made by the Commission and you want to enforce the orders, you must make your application within six years of the breach. If you're not sure how to apply, or whether you're within the time limit, you should get
Usually, applications should be made to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australi. If the matter is complicated, it may transferred to the Federal Court of Australia.
To apply, you must complete:
You can get a copy of these forms from:
Once you have completed the forms you must file them at a registry office and pay a filing fee of $77.80 (as at 1 July 2022).
Before apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, you should get
The Court may:
If your employer is an individual they can receive a maximum fine of $13,320 (as at July 2022).
If your employer is a corporation they can be fined five times as much as an individual. This means your employer can face a maximum fine of $66,600 (as at July 2022).
Before you apply to enforce the Commission's orders, you should get
If your employer does not follow an order to reinstate you, they may be in contempt of court. It is possible for the Federal Court of Australia or Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia to punish parties that are in contempt of court.
If the Court has made orders about your employer paying you money and they have not done so, there are things you can do to try and force them to follow the orders. This process is called 'enforcement'.
There are different types of enforcement options, including:
To enforce a judgment of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, you need to:
To apply to the Federal Court of Australia, you need to file:
You can get a copy of the:
The Request for Enforcement and supporting documents should be filed via eLodgment.
You do not have to pay a filing fee.
A Registrar will consider the Request for Enforcement and, if satisfied that the request and supporting documents are in an appropriate form, issue the enforcement process.
For more information, see the Enforcement, Endorsement and Contempt Practice Note (GPN-ENF) on the Federal Court of Australia website.
Once the enforcement process is issued any further steps to enforce and execute the judgment should then be taken in the Sheriff's office of the Supreme Court of NSW.
If the judgment debt is more than $10,000 and your employer is an individual, you can apply to a court to have them declared bankrupt. Before taking this action, you should get legal advice. This is an expensive and complex way of enforcing the judgment.
If your employer is a company, it can be wound up. To wind up a company you must show that it is insolvent (unable to pay its debts). This can be done by issuing a statutory demand. If the judgment debtor company does not respond to a statutory demand within 21 days you can file an application for a winding up order. Before taking this action you should get legal advice. This is an expensive and complex way of enforcing the debt.
Enforcing court decisions is complicated and you should get legal advice about the best steps to take.
For answers to commonly asked questions, see After the case - Frequently Asked Questions.