The Fair Work Commission’s first Enforceable Undertaking (EU)

Fair Work Commission

The General Manager of the Fair Work Commission (Commission), Murray Furlong, has today accepted the Commission’s first enforceable undertaking (EU) using one of the new enforcement tools in section 316C of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (the RO Act). The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) State Public Services Federation (SPSF) entered into the undertaking after admitting non-compliance by its Western Australia Prison Officer’s Union Branch (the Branch).

Enforceable undertakings are voluntary but binding agreements under the RO Act that are negotiated between a person or entity and the Commission’s General Manager. They can be directed towards non-compliance that has occurred as well as preventing future non-compliance. Failure to comply with the terms of an enforceable undertaking may result in court action to enforce the undertaking.

The ability to enter into enforceable undertakings is one of the expanded powers and functions that were conferred on the General Manager as part of amendments to the RO Act by the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 that commenced earlier this year.

An inquiry under section 330 of the RO Act was commenced following a protected disclosure investigation. The inquiry identified concerns around the conduct of an internal branch election in 2020 to fill casual vacancies (as well as other elections) and the failure to lodge notifications of changes to the Branch’s records with the regulator in relation to the filling of those offices, as required by the RO Act.

The Commission’s General Manager, Mr Furlong, said that:

“I am committed to working closely with registered organisations to support them to achieve voluntary compliance with their statutory obligations, for the benefit of their Members.”

“The CPSU advised us that it had taken steps to improve its processes by commencing a comprehensive review of the SPSF Group rules, and by establishing internal governance bodies to coordinate and provide greater central oversight of the CPSU-SPSF Group’s compliance standards and practices.”

“The CPSU also indicated it was committed to making further changes to reduce the risk of future compliance failures. In light of these steps, and in consideration of an appropriate regulatory response to the identified compliance issues, the CPSU requested that I give consideration to engaging in an EU to resolve this matter.”

“I consider that an enforceable undertaking is a proportionate, appropriate and effective response to the identified compliance issues.”

“I would like to acknowledge and thank the officers at the CPSU for working closely with my staff at the Commission on this matter. It illustrates the benefits of positive and collaborative relationships between registered organisations and their regulator to achieve voluntary compliance.”

The CPSU has agreed for CPSU (SPSF Group) Branch officers to undertake training, complete a comprehensive review of their rules with the assistance of the Commission, establish a national training and development program and make the EU publicly available.

A copy of the EU has been published on the Commission’s website.

/Public Release.