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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


Your questions answered: Can we change employees’ hours?

Industrial Instruments

Q We are in the process of relocating one of our centres. As part of this relocation, we are extending the operation hours of the centre. We have 13 part-time employees at our centre. They are all employed under an […]

By Portner Press on April 15th, 2019

Cognitively impaired employee appeals rejected unfair dismissal claim

Industrial Instruments

If you get duped, it’s not our problem. That’s the message a Fair Work Commission (FWC) commissioner gave to an employee with cognitive difficulties when he missed an unfair dismissal application deadline, due to misleading online advertising. After the cleaner […]

By Portner Press on April 10th, 2019

FWO’s anonymous dob-in system is working

Industrial Instruments

Since the middle of 2016, more than 20,000 employees and other individuals have anonymously reported employers to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

By Portner Press on April 1st, 2019

Employee who had relationship with co-worker wrongfully dismissed

Industrial Instruments

Two romantically involved massage parlour employees, a massage therapist and a maintenance worker, have been awarded nearly $40,000 in an unfair dismissal claim.

By Portner Press on March 25th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we deduct overpayments from wages?

Modern Awards

Can you please advise if we are able to ask for money back and would we be able to deduct from [the employees] wages each week going forward?

By Portner Press on March 25th, 2019

Fashion start-up fined $330K for illegal use of interns

Industrial Instruments

Start-up director of Her Fashion Box discovered the really high price of fashion when she thought she could classify her employees as ‘interns’ to avoid paying correct award rates.

By Portner Press on March 15th, 2019

Your questions answered: Can we ask if our employee has another job?

Industrial Instruments

Q: As an employer, can we request that staff declare if they hold a second job?

By Portner Press on March 8th, 2019

Can two jobs with the same employer count as one?

Industrial Instruments

In Lacson v Australian Postal Corporation (2019) an Australia Post employee worked two part-time jobs at two different locations, performing different duties at each site.

By Charles Power on February 27th, 2019

Can you recover wages or super payments made by mistake?

Modern Awards

If you pay money to an employee or a super fund because of a mistaken belief that you had to, you can recover the monies paid unless...

By Charles Power on February 25th, 2019

If ‘Nazi Sparky’ can pay, he must pay, says FWC

Industrial Instruments

An electrical contractor who was ordered by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to pay $11,400 to an unfairly dismissed employee has lost his application for a stay order.

By Portner Press on February 18th, 2019