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Who is an employer?

An employer includes persons, firms, companies and corporations, as well as public authorities, employing one or more employees. The State system in Western Australia covers employers who are not national system employers. A national system employer includes a trading, financial or foreign corporation ('constitutional corporation'). Most employers in the private sector are trading corporations. Therefore, they are deemed 'national system' employers and most aspects of the employment relationship are dealt with by the Fair Work Commission.

Who is an employee?

An employee is generally any person employed by an employer to do work for hire or reward. The types of employees that can make applications and claims to the WAIRC include:

  • private sector employees;
  • government officers;
  • other government employees; and
  • police, prison and youth custodial officers.

The type of application an employee can make depends on the identity of their employer and how they are employed.

Responding to a claim

If you have been served with a claim by your employee or former employee, you can lodge a response with the Commission. Not completing a response will not prevent the Commission from dealing with the matter, but it might prevent the Commission from taking your viewpoint into account when it does. In order to respond to and contest an application or claim, you will need to file the relevant form with the Commission (See our Applications and Forms page). The response forms allow you to state whether you oppose the matter and set out your reasons for doing so, which could include whether you believe that the application or claim does not fall within the Commission's jurisdiction.

Time limits

The Industrial Relations Commission Regulations 2005 (WA) sets out the requirements for lodging a response to matters that are before the Commission, including the time limits which apply. The Commission’s Registry will inform you of any time limits that apply to your matter when they serve you with a copy of the claim. For example, a response to an unfair dismissal application or contractual benefit claim is required to be filed within 21 days of service of the application or claim.

Please note that even if you choose not to be involved, a decision might be made against you.


Frequently asked questions

Parties may be represented or they may represent themselves. Parties can be represented by a lawyer, industrial agent or a relative or friend. Except where the representative is a lawyer, the party being represented must file a Form 11 – Notification of Representative Commencing or Ceasing to Act to confirm that another person, agency or organisation is representing them.

You can contact the Commission's Registry by email, phone or in-person. We also have helpful Fact Sheets which may assist in answering your questions.