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The Fair Work Ombudsman increased its use of compliance notices by 113% in 2020-21, as it sought to quickly rectify underpayments instead of taking action in the courts, while it has nevertheless ramped up its legal action by more than 40% and set up a dedicated branch to pursue corporate misconduct.

The watchdog’s annual report, tabled in Federal Parliament on Wednesday, says it issued 2,025 compliance notices in 2020–21.

The watchdog recovered a record $148.4 million for 69,735 underpaid workers, up 20% on 2019-20 and nearly five times its recoveries in 2017-18.

Fair Work Inspectors also issued 513 infringement notices for total fines of more than $518,000 in 2020-21.

More info: Fair Work Ombudsman Annual Report 2021 Performance Snapshot