Lodging a complaint

What NSW Industrial Relations can assist with

NSW Industrial Relations handles complaints concerning:

  • breaches of the Long Service Leave Act 1955;
  • non-payment of statutory entitlements to a bailee or contract driver under a Contract Determination;
  • non-payment of award or statutory entitlements to a local government employee;
  • illegal deduction from pay of a local government employee;

What NSW Industrial Relations cannot assist with

If your complaint is about pay, conditions or workplace rights under Commonwealth legislation, enterprise agreements or modern awards, you should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Infoline on 13 13 94.

If your complaint is about ending employment including unfair dismissal, unlawful termination or general protections, or about bullying, harassment or discrimination at work, you should contact the Fair Work Commission on 1300 799 675.

Steps to take before lodging a complaint

Before lodging a complaint, you should take the following steps:

  1. speak to your employer/ bailor / principal contractor regarding the issue. It is possible that a genuine mistake was made but can be rectified easily after discussions between the parties.
  2. if you believe you are underpaid and owed a sum of money, write to your employer/ bailor / principal contractor to formally demand the amount to be paid to you. Click here for a sample letter of demand.
  3. contact your union if you are a member.
  4. seek independent legal advice if you are able to. LawAccess NSW is a free government telephone service that provides legal information, referrals and in some cases, advice for people who have a legal problem in NSW. The Law Society of NSW also runs a Solicitor Referral Service (SRS) which can provide personalised assistance.

Who can lodge a complaint?

Generally, the complainant has to:

  • be currently employed or has been employed by the employer named in the complaint within 12 months immediately preceding lodgement of the complaint;
  • have an entitlement to long service leave relating to employment with an employer in the 12 months immediately preceding lodgement of complaint;
  • be a contract driver under a Contract Determination or has been such a contract driver within the 12 months immediately preceding to lodgement of the complaint;
  • be a current bailee under the Taxi Industry (Contract Drivers) Contract Determination 1984 or has been such a bailee within 12 months immediately preceding lodgement of the complaint.

How to lodge a complaint

If you have not been able to resolve your concerns regarding your outstanding entitlements, you can call NSW Industrial Relations on 131 628 to discuss.

You can lodge a complaint using the online complaint form or by printing the form and posting to GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001.

Online Complaint Form

Complaint Handling Policy

NSW Industrial Relations handles your complaint in accordance with our Complaint Handling Policy.

Both parties to a complaint can expect to have the matters raised in the complaint handled in a professional and timely manner.

When we act on a complaint, we will impartially investigate the matter to identify potential breaches of NSW industrial relations laws. We do not represent, or act on behalf of, either party in an investigation.

Complaint handling stages and timeframes

Our Complaint Handling Policy sets out the steps involved in assessing, managing and resolving the complaint and the associated timeframes, which can be summarised as follows:

Managing Complaints of Non-Compliance Policy (PDF, 263 KB)

When lodging an industrial complaint you must make sure that:

  • all parts of your industrial complaint form are completed as accurately as possible.
  • all relevant documents and information are included with your complaint (e.g. your commencement date, any breaks of employment, termination letters, and payslips).
  • evidence of any prior attempt to resolve the dispute is included with your complaint, such as a copy of your letter of demand.

Assessment criteria

NSW Industrial Relations may not accept industrial complaints where:

  • you have not already tried to resolve the matter yourself with the other party;
  • there is an unresolved unfair dismissal application concerning your employment which is subject to the complaint. NSW Industrial Relations can only investigate your complaint after the unfair dismissal application has been finalised;
  • allegations of criminal activity remain unresolved;
  • your engagement was terminated over 12 months ago;
  • your former employer / bailor / principal contractor is in liquidation. If this is the case you should contact the appointed liquidator. Information regarding insolvency for employees can be accessed from ASIC’s website. Further assistance is also available from the Federal Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations, the agency responsible for the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG). You can find out more about FEG by calling 1300 135 040 or at their website.


Where any breach of the NSW industrial relations laws can be established, we are able to impose various sanctions. These include: a Formal Caution, Penalty Notice and Notice to Employer. We may also recommend prosecution action, where appropriate.

Please see our Complaint Handling Policy for more information.