Public Interest Law Careers Guide - Fair Work Commission

Field of Law


Stage of Career

Graduates; Practising Lawyers

Contact Details

Address: Level 4, 11 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, 3000
GPO Box 1994, Melbourne, 3001
Phone:  (03) 8626 4862
Visit the FWC website
Contact person: Nicole Attard

Description of Organisation or department within organisation

Fair Work Australia (FWA) is the national workplace relations tribunal. It is an independent body with power to carry out a range of functions including:

  • providing a safety net of minimum conditions, including minimum wages, in awards
  • facilitating good faith bargaining and the making of enterprise agreements
  • granting remedies for unfair dismissal
  • regulating the taking of industrial action
  • resolving a range of collective and individual workplace disputes through conciliation, mediation and in some cases arbitration
  • functions in connection with workplace determinations, equal remuneration, transfer of business, general workplace protections, right of entry and stand down.
  • The work of Fair Work Australia is carried out by FWA members with the support of administrative staff.

Number of positions within organisation in Melbourne: 16 members, 21 associates and other staff

Information for university students/graduates

Do you have a graduate clerkship program?

The FWC graduate program was suspended in 2013. At the time of writing, no decision has yet been taken regarding its resumption in 2014. The graduate program is exclusively advertised through subscriber university career websites. Students should check these regularly for details.

Note: Many Associates are recruited from related government departments such as the Fair Work Ombudsman as there is no direct training for these positions within the Fair Work Commission. Young lawyers or graduates wishing to work for the Fair Work Commission may consider seeking employment in these offices and then look for an opportunity to transfer.

Number of graduates taken per year

3 from Melbourne, 3 from Sydney. 12 month program with three rotations,

Note: this program does not lead to permanent employment

How to apply

Details provided on university employment websites

Dates for application

August for February commencement

Interview process

As an applicant, you will be considered available for interview from the date applications close, unless you advise otherwise. Where possible, the SAC will generally give you at least three days' notice before your interview. (check this is the same for graduates as employees)

What are they looking for in a graduate?

Deep interest in workplace relations

Information for Practising Lawyers

What are they looking for in a permanent employee?

Members: The Fair Work Act 2009 requires that those appointed to FWC have appropriate knowledge or experience in relevant fields such as workplace relations; law; business, industry or commerce.

Current Fair Work Australia members come from a diverse range of employment backgrounds including the law, unions and employer associations, human resources and management, and the public service.

Minimum Wage Panel members must have knowledge or experience in one or more of the fields of workplace relations; economics; social policy; or business, industry or commerce.Researchers: Experience within a related field (e.g. Ombudsman's offices)

Where are jobs advertised?

Go to Careers at The Fair Work Commission Website

Application Process

The preferred method of receiving your application is via email. Applications should be emailed to

You should include in your application:

  • a statement against the selection criteria which will assist the Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) to make an informed assessment of your suitability;
  • personal details to assist in identifying your application including both a business hours and personal contact number;
  • a summary of your work experience;
  • names of at least two referees (one of whom would usually be a current supervisor) who could provide comments on your work performance and an assessment of you in terms of the selection criteria. Nominated referees will not be contacted without first obtaining your consent; and
  • any further relevant information.

As an applicant, you will be considered available for interview from the date applications close, unless you advise otherwise. Where possible, the SAC will generally give you at least three days' notice before your interview.

Advice for applicants

Applicants must be Australian citizens.

Castan Centre logo

Progressive Law Network logo

Victoria Law Foundation Grants logo