Enterprise agreements are collective agreements provided for by the Fair Work Act 2009 from 1 July 2009.
Enterprise agreements are agreements made at the enterprise level that contain terms and conditions of employment.
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).
The Fair Work Commission assesses and approves enterprise agreements. It can also assist in the process of making agreements and can deal with disputes arising under the terms of an agreement. Before the Commission can approve an agreement, it must be satisfied that the agreement meets the requirements for approval set out in the Fair Work Act 2009, including that the employees will be 'better off overall' under the agreement than they would be if the relevant award applied.
The Fair Work Act also sets out requirements for bargaining for a proposed enterprise agreement.
If you are making a multi enterprise agreement application or if you are about to commence an industry bargaining round that will result in a large number of agreement approval applications being lodged; notifying the Commission prior to applications being made will assist the Commission in dealing with the applications in a timely and consistent manner.
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.
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.
If you require further assistance in understanding what agreement applies to you, please visit the Agreements section of the Fair Work Ombudsman website.