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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


How to keep your confidential workplace investigation reports out of court

Industrial Instruments

In some cases you might seek to have a lawyer investigate the facts or circumstances of an incident in the workplace, so they can give you professional legal advice about the implications of that incident for you and your business. […]

By Charles Power on December 18th, 2019

Your questions answered: Could our employee’s ongoing unpaid overtime result in a hefty back pay claim?

Industrial Instruments

Q Our employee claims he has worked an extra 30 minutes a day unpaid for about three years. This has not been expressly authorised but is not contested. Can a deed be used to effectively settle any back pay claims […]

By Portner Press on December 18th, 2019

Three quarters of ‘cheap eat’ establishments underpay their staff

Industrial Instruments

Are employers really concerned about correctly paying their staff? It appears many still aren’t. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) discovered this when it conducted an audit swoop on popular ‘cheap eat’ establishments in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide. The FWO […]

By Portner Press on December 17th, 2019

Your questions answered: Do we have to pay employees for non-compulsory training outside of work hours?

Industrial Instruments

Q If we are running a training session which is not compulsory and an employee chooses to attend that training on a non-working day, are we obligated to pay the employee for the hours spent at the training? We operate […]

By Portner Press on December 13th, 2019

An EBA ballot doesn’t need to include employees who join during the voting period

Industrial Instruments

If you ask employees to vote on a proposed enterprise agreement you need to give them access to the proposed agreement for at least 7 clear days before the voting period. In the notice to employees about the voting period […]

By Charles Power on December 9th, 2019

Your questions answered: Is a Year 2 award rate paid after one or two years of service?

Modern Awards

Q In the Clerks – Private Sector Award, is the Year 2 hourly rate applicable after two years’ service or after one year service? A Clause 15.3 of the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 provides that “’year’ in respect […]

By Portner Press on December 4th, 2019

Qantas sign-on bonus alleged to be adverse action

Industrial Instruments

In 2018 Qantas offered a bonus ($2,500 for full-time employees and $2,000 for part time employees). One of the conditions for receiving the cash component of bonus was that new enterprise agreement was voted up and approved. This has had […]

By Charles Power on November 27th, 2019

Overworked professional employees – How do you comply with the Fair Work Act?

Industrial Instruments

Each week we read about another employer who has been allegedly not paying their employees for the hours they have worked. These cases are often not concerned with employers applying a pay rate that is less than the applicable award […]

By Charles Power on November 20th, 2019

Your questions answered: Must an employee have a protected attribute to request flexible work arrangements?

Industrial Instruments

Q An employee who does not have any protected attributes has requested to work fewer days, but the same number of hours. Is it reasonable to tell the employee that potential approval of working 5 days hours over 4 days […]

By Portner Press on November 20th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we make an employee pay our insurance excess?

Industrial Instruments

Q One of our employees reversed into main entrance glass doors while parking his car. Our company had to pay $500 excess on the insurance claim. We’d like to claim that back from the employee by offering him a payment […]

By Portner Press on November 13th, 2019