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An industrial instrument is any legislation or award, order, determination or industrial agreement in force under Australian legislation.

The most notable ones include The Fair Work Act, enterprise agreements, and modern awards.

The Fair Work Act (FW Act) uses Commonwealth constitutional powers to extend its operation as far as possible. This includes the power to make laws:

An enterprise agreement (or collective agreement) is an agreement made between a national system employer and some or all of its employees who are employed at the time the agreement is made.

A modern award is an instrument that records the minimum conditions of employment for employees it covers. These conditions are enforceable under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). In Australia, there 122 modern awards.

The minimum conditions provided under these instruments apply automatically and cannot be overridden by any other arrangement between the employer and an employee.

Industrial instruments help protect employers and employees from discrimination and health and safety violations, as well as ensuring equal pay and leave provisions.


Top stories for Industrial Instruments


Does the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code apply to big business franchisees?

Industrial Instruments

To qualify as a small business under the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, a business must employ fewer than 15 employees, including: employees in related entities, e.g. subsidiaries or parent companies, including those outside Australia; part-time employees; and casual employees […]

By Portner Press on August 19th, 2019

EBA annual pay increases less than 3%

Industrial Instruments

Federal government data current for the March 2019 quarter shows that enterprise agreements (EBAs) are providing for annual pay increases of 2.7%, which is down slightly from the December quarter. Public sector employees covered by newly approved EBAs are faring […]

By Charles Power on August 16th, 2019

FWC dobs in rehab clinic for sham contracting

Industrial Instruments

  A Fair Work Commission (FWC) hearing has revealed that a Melbourne addiction treatment clinic appears to have its own abuse problem, as an employer. DayHab made a jurisdictional objection to a counsellor’s unfair dismissal claim, arguing that she was […]

By Portner Press on August 14th, 2019

Your questions answered: What are the minimum hour requirements before or after a sleepover shift in a care home?

Modern Awards

Q Clause 25.7(f) of the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 states: “An employer may roster an employee to perform work immediately before and/or immediately after the sleepover period, but must roster the employee or pay […]

By Rebecca Macdougall on August 9th, 2019

Your questions answered: Do ‘excited utterances’ apply in Australian employment law?

Industrial Instruments

Q We have a new HR manager who wants to use “excited utterances” as part of staff incident investigations. I cannot find any reference to this in the Handbook. Does this term exist within NSW/Australian law? A “Excited utterances” is […]

By Portner Press on August 7th, 2019

CEO faces court over ‘concerning’ underpayment of nanny

Modern Awards

Managing director of Award Mortgage Solutions, Kit Antony (Tony) Lam, and his wife Ming Wei (Tiffanie) Tong are facing prosecution over allegedly requiring a Filipina nanny to work between 88 and 106 hours per week and underpaying her by $155,178.90. […]

By Portner Press on July 26th, 2019

George Calombaris to speak publicly about Fair Work compliance

Industrial Instruments

Celebrity chef George Calombaris has been issued with an enforceable undertaking from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) where he must complete seven public speaking engagements to educate the restaurant industry about workplace law compliance. The FWO investigated Mr Calombaris’s MAdE […]

By Portner Press on July 22nd, 2019

Your questions answered: What should we pay a work experience employee?

Modern Awards

Q We are offering a work experience position to a young girl who has just completed Year 12. We have asked if she would be interested in admin work experience with us, and then potentially continuing into a trainee position. […]

By Portner Press on July 15th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we refuse dated expense claims?

Industrial Instruments

Q An employee who left the company recently has submitted unclaimed expenses dating back 2.5 years. During his employment, he was asked many times to submit his claims, but failed to do so. About 6 months ago, our company implemented […]

By Portner Press on July 8th, 2019

ACTU launches legal action against Qantas over its bonus scheme

Industrial Instruments

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has launched legal action against Qantas over its bonus scheme, which it claims is unlawful adverse action. Qantas announced the $2,000 bonus ($1,500 for part-time employees) and $500 travel credit in August last […]

By Portner Press on July 5th, 2019