The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is a government appointee dedicated to safeguarding the rights of workers across Australia, ensuring fair treatment in the workplace. 

For those contributing to the horticulture sector, the FWO is a pivotal resource, offering guidance, support, and protection to ensure your work experience in Australia is positive and lawful.

Know Your Rights

In Australia, all workers are entitled to certain rights, including fair pay, reasonable work hours, and leave entitlements. For those on visas, including backpackers and Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) community members, there are additional protections to ensure you’re treated fairly, regardless of your nationality or language skills.

  • Pay Rates and Entitlements: You’re entitled to receive at least the minimum wage, as well as penalty rates for overtime or weekend work, where applicable.
  • Work Hours and Breaks: Laws are in place to regulate your working hours and ensure you receive adequate breaks.
  • Leave Entitlements: You have rights to leave, including annual leave, sick leave, and, in some cases, parental leave.

For visa holders, it’s important to know that your work rights are protected by Australian law. This includes having a safe work environment and being free from unfair treatment or exploitation.

Resources for Workers

The FWO provides a wealth of resources designed to help you understand your rights and entitlements:

  • Multilingual Guides: Resources are available in multiple languages, catering to the diverse workforce in horticulture. Visit the Language Help page.
  • Pay Calculator: The Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) can help you check your pay rates, shift calculations, leave, and notice and redundancy entitlements.
  • Reporting Workplace Issues: If you encounter any issues at work, the FWO’s website offers guidance on reporting them and seeking assistance. Follow FWO’s step-by-step Guide to resolving workplace disputes.
  • Horticulture Showcase: A virtual hub of workplace information and resources for the horticulture industry. Explore the Horticulture Showcase

How to Seek Help

If you believe your rights have been violated, it’s important to act:

  1. Document Everything: Keep records of your work hours, pay, and any communications with your employer.
  1. Report the Issue: You can confidentially report workplace issues to the FWO without fear of retaliation. Your privacy and rights will be protected.

The FWO can assist with resolving workplace disputes and provide advice on how to address concerns with your employer.

How to Contact the FWO

There are several ways to get in touch with the Fair Work Ombudsman:

  • Phone: Call 13 13 94 for assistance between 8am – 5:30pm Monday to Friday to speak with a helpful adviser. They will provide you with tailored advice and information. If you need an interpreter, call 13 14 50 and ask for the Fair Work Ombudsman.
  • Social Media: The FWO is active on social media, where you can reach out for advice and support.


Understanding your rights as a worker in Australia is crucial for a fair and rewarding experience in harvest work. The Fair Work Ombudsman is committed to supporting and protecting all workers, ensuring you have access to the resources and assistance you need. Whether you’re a backpacker, a member of a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community, or an itinerant worker, know that the FWO is here to help you confidently navigate the Australian work landscape.