The Fair Labor Ombudsman, in his capacity to combat the exploitation of vulnerable workers, explores all the possibilities open to them to inform workers of their rights and to allow them to denounce the bad relations of their employers.
In mid-2016, the FWO launched its online anonymous report tool for workers to alert the Ombudsman of potential workplace violations. Already, more than 33,000 notices have been sent via the portal.
Migrant workers, although they are among the most vulnerable groups of workers in Australia because they are generally young and have difficulties with language and cultural barriers, were much less likely to contact the FWO.
Part of this problem can be attributed to a general lack of knowledge, but the lack of language resources has been identified as one of the biggest barriers to migrant workers.
Many government agencies, including the FWO, have resources in languages other than English. However, most agencies do not have the capacity to allow people to talk to or interact with it.
In fact, the FWO thinks that its new anonymous language reporting tool is the first offer of this type proposed by a federal government agency in Australia.
With the help of publicly available Google and Microsoft translation tools, the FWO has extended the anonymous reporting tool to include 16 non-English languages through which workers can send informations.
Evaluations between manual translations and automated translations have led the team to prefer Google for some languages and Microsoft for others.
Since the launch of the new feature in July 2017, 1,600 reports have been received in languages other than English, the most popular being Chinese and Korean.
The FWO has already launched 75 investigations based on anonymous reports in languages other than English.
However, when used in combination with other operations and research data, all non-English reports helped the ombudsman focus on compliance activities, allowing him to focus on areas, locations, specific sectors or types of behavior that may be subject to systemic measures. problems.
The languages supported by the tool are Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Hindi, French Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Filipino, Portuguese, Thai and Nepali.
This project has been named a finalist in the "Federal Government" category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2018/19.