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Enterprise agreements and other registered agreements set out minimum employment conditions and can apply to:

  • one business
  • a group of businesses, or
  • an individual employee (but these types of agreements can’t be made anymore).

When a workplace has a registered agreement, the award doesn’t apply. However:

  • the base pay rate in the registered agreement can’t be less than the base pay rate in the award
  • the National Employment Standards still apply
  • any terms about outworkers in the award still apply.

Registered agreements apply until they are terminated or replaced.

Find a Registered Agreement

You can find enterprise agreements and other registered agreements on the Fair Work Commission website.

Who Can Make an Enterprise Agreement?

An enterprise agreement can be made between one or more employers and two or more employees with their chosen representatives.

In the case of a greenfields agreement, where there are no employees employed, the employer negotiates with one or more relevant employee organisations (unions).

 

Why Make an Enterprise Agreement?

Modern awards cover a whole industry or occupation and provide a safety net of minimum pay rates and employment conditions. Enterprise agreements can be tailored to meet the needs of particular enterprises.

 

What Can an Enterprise Agreement Include?

Enterprise agreements usually include a broad range of matters such as:

  • rates of pay
  • employment conditions, eg hours of work, meal breaks, overtime
  • consultative mechanisms
  • dispute resolution procedures
  • deductions from wages for any purpose authorised by an employee.

They cannot, however, include unlawful content (such as discriminatory or objectionable terms).

Types of Enterprise Agreements

Approval processes for enterprise agreements vary depending on the type of agreement.

There are 3 types:

  • Single-enterprise agreements – involving a single employer or one or more employers (such as franchisees) co-operating in what is essentially a single enterprise (such employers are known as single interest employers – see Division 10, Part 2-4, of the Fair Work Act 2009).
  • Multi-enterprise agreements – involving 2 or more employers that are not all single interest employers.
  • Greenfields agreements – involving a genuinely new enterprise that one or more employers are establishing or propose to establish and who have not yet employed persons necessary for the normal conduct of the enterprise. Such agreements may be either a single-enterprise agreement or a multi-enterprise agreement.

Continuous Operation of Agreements

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, agreements continue to operate after their nominal expiry date until they are replaced or terminated by application to the Commission. Through provisions in the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009, agreements made under previous legislation continue to have effect as agreement-based transitional instruments.

Tips For The Agreement Making Process

1. Comply with timeframes

Comply with the statutory timeframes for agreement making.

2. Provide Notice of Employee Representational Rights (NERR)

Provide your employees with a compliant NERR.

3. Provide relevant information

Provide as much relevant information as possible when completing the application form and statutory declaration. This includes:

  • when and how the NERR was provided to your employees
  • effect of the agreement was explained to employees
  • when and how you informed employees of the time and place of the vote, when the vote took place, as well as the method of voting; and
  • details of any terms that are more or less beneficial than the relevant award(s) awards that would apply to employees

Attach any relevant documents about these matters to your application, including copies of the NERR, emails to employees about the voting process and copies of any material provided to employees to explain the terms of the agreement and the effect of those terms.

4. Sign and date forms

Ensure all submitted forms are correctly signed and dated.

Please note: The agreement, including the signature page, will be published on the Fair Work Commission website. If you prefer to protect your privacy, you may wish to use your business address rather than your residential address when witnessing an agreement.

Tips for Agreement Content

5. Be aware of nominal expiry dates

Nominal expiry dates must be no more than 4 years from the date the agreement is approved by the Fair Work Commission (not the date the agreement commences).

6. Redundancy and notice of termination entitlements

Redundancy and notice of termination entitlements must provide at least the same entitlements as the National Employment Standards (NES).

Apprentices must not be excluded from notice of termination provisions.

7. Shiftworkers

If the agreement covers shiftworkers, ensure you explicitly define them as 'shiftworkers for the purposes of NES'.

8. Dispute resolution provision

Ensure the dispute resolution provision allows the Fair Work Commission (or another independent person) to settle disputes and allows for the representation of employees if there is a dispute.

9. Relationship to award

If the agreement relies on provisions from an award, make it clear that the agreement incorporates either those provisions or the entire award (rather than ‘is to be read in conjunction with the award’).

10. Public holidays

Any definition of public holidays must include 'holidays declared or prescribed by, or under, a law of a State or Territory'.