What is an Enterprise Agreement?

Find out here about

  • enterprise agreements and what they mean to you
  • what enterprise agreements cover
  • how enterprise agreements are created
  • how to find out if you’re covered by an enterprise agreement.

What is an Enterprise Agreement(EA),or Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA)?

Enterprise agreements are agreements made at an enterprise level between employers and employees and their union, about terms and conditions of employment.

They can also be made by more than one employer, with a group of employees.

Why have an enterprise agreement?

Although Awards cover minimum pay and conditions for an industry, enterprise agreements can cover specific arrangements for a particular enterprise.

Normally, everything that is in an Award is also a minimum standard in an EBA. EBAs are never allowed to offer less than is contained in the base standards provided by the National Employment Standards.

What do Enterprise Bargaining Agreements cover?

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

  • rates of pay
  • employment conditions e.g. hours of work, meal breaks, overtime
  • how and when employees and their representatives will be consulted
  • dispute resolution procedures
  • deductions from wages for any purpose authorised by an employee.

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

Does an Enterprise Agreement replace an Award?

Yes. When an Enterprise Agreement is in operation, the modern award that covers that employment no longer applies.

However the pay rate in the enterprise agreement cannot be less than the pay rate in the modern award.

Any outworker terms in the relevant award also continue to apply.

Can I reach my own individual agreement?

No. You can no longer make new individual agreements. This is designed to protect people from being played off against one another.

How do you get an Enterprise Agreement?

Enterprise Agreements are negotiated between your union and your employer. Your union represents your interests if you’re a member.

The process of reaching an Agreement can take many weeks or months of discussion and a great deal of industrial knowledge and expertise in negotiations to work through issues of importance to each side.

How do I get a say in what the union negotiates for me?

To have your say in what is negotiated on your behalf, you need to become a member of your union.

Union members effectively pay for all employees to be represented in negotiations with your employer, so the more members of a workforce who are financial members, the more resources your union has to negotiate on your behalf.

Are there rules about making Enterprise Agreements?

Yes. The process is overseen by Fair Work Australia. One of the key rules relates to what’s known as ‘bargaining in good faith’.

This means that basically, both sides have to play fair.

Fair Work Australia has specified bargaining in good faith principles as follows:

Participants must:

  • recognise and bargain with the other bargaining representatives involved
  • attend and participate in meetings at reasonable times
  • disclose relevant information in a timely manner (this excludes confidential or commercially sensitive information)
  • respond to proposals made by the other bargaining representatives in a timely manner
  • genuinely consider the proposals of the other bargaining representatives and provide reasons for the responses
  • refrain from behaving in a way that undermines freedom of association or collective bargaining.

Do I have an Enterprise Agreement?

Depends on which company you are in.

All Enterprise Agreements can be found on Fair Work Australia. http://www.fwc.gov.au/

Need advice on which Agreement covers you? If you are a member of the Communication Workers Union, you can contact the union or contact Fair Work Australia.

And yes, you can see your Agreement – it’s a public document.

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