The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is the national workplace relations tribunal.  It regulates employment law in Australia and has the power to carry out a number of functions such as providing minimum workplace conditions and making enterprise agreements. A person who does not agree with a decision or order (ruling) made by the FWC can apply to appeal a decision.

It should be noted that permission (or leave) must be sought to appeal and there are very strict time limits to appeal a decision.

The Appeal Process

Provided leave is granted and an application for appeal is within time, the Full Bench of the FWC has the power to hear appeals.  The Full Bench, on appeal, will consider firstly whether permission to appeal should be granted; and secondly whether there was an error in the original decision.  In general, permission will be granted to appeal if the FWC considers the appeal to be in the public interest and that the original decision involved a ‘significant error of fact’.

As a result, the Full Bench can either refer the matter for further action to another member of the FWC to hear; make a further decision in relation to the original decision; or confirm, vary or suppress the original decision.

Who can appeal?

If a single member of the FWC or the General Manager of the FWC made the original decision, the matter is open to appeal.

Time limit to appeal

An appeal must be lodged within 21 days from the date in which the original decision was granted.  An extension of time will only be granted in certain circumstances.


If you require any assistance with lodging an appeal in the FWC, please contact one of our employment lawyers today on 1300 544 755

Emma Heuston
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