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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


Australia’s silent underclass of underpaid workers

Industrial Instruments

The Wage Theft in Silence report is based on a survey of 4322 temporary migrant workers from 107 countries working across Australia.

By Portner Press on December 12th, 2018

Underpaying employer forced to clean up its act

Industrial Instruments

A cleaning company found to have underpaid almost 99% of its staff must send apology letters to every affected worker, as well as place a public notice in the Australian Financial Review.

By Portner Press on December 5th, 2018

Second time in court for employment-law-flouting plumber

Industrial Instruments

This time he has allegedly underpaid another young employee a total of $3,929, in a six-week period between July and September 2017.

By Portner Press on November 30th, 2018

Your questions answered: Can we change our employees’ hours?

Industrial Instruments

Q: Under the enterprise agreement, any change to part-time hours can only be made by mutual agreement. Is there any other lawful option to change these?

By Portner Press on November 30th, 2018

JB Hi-Fi’s proactive compliance gets approval from the FWO

Industrial Instruments

Following JB Hi-Fi underpaying nine of its employees in 2013, a Proactive Compliance Deed (PCD) with the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) will ensure its future workplace practices are compliant.

By Portner Press on November 28th, 2018

Your questions answered: Do we have to pay wages early if the normal pay date falls on a weekend or public holiday?

Industrial Instruments

Q: When an employer pays its employees on a monthly basis, is there an obligation to pay on the same day of the month every month? What about Weekends?

By Portner Press on November 21st, 2018

Employers can’t suspend pay if a worker breaches visa conditions

Industrial Instruments

You do not have a right to suspend an employee without pay unless provision is made for this right in legislation, the employment contract, or an applicable award or enterprise agreement.

By Charles Power on November 19th, 2018

Task-based contract employee wins unfair dismissal claim

Industrial Instruments

The FW Act unfair dismissal laws will not apply unless the claimant was dismissed. A person will not have been dismissed if they were employed under a contract of employment for a specified task and the employment has terminated on completion of the task.

By Charles Power on November 14th, 2018

Your questions answered: Can staff skip their morning tea break and take a longer lunch break instead?

Industrial Instruments

Q: If a worker misses their morning tea break, are they entitled to add the minutes to their lunch break?

By Portner Press on November 14th, 2018

Can you insist an employee is assessed by a doctor you nominate?

Industrial Instruments

The basis for this right is the general duty of care you owe all of your employees, underpinned by work health and safety legislation.

By Charles Power on November 7th, 2018