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Enterprise agreements

Last updated April 2024

This chapter explains how to create, lodge, enforce, vary and terminate an enterprise agreement.

What is an enterprise agreement?

Definition: Enterprise Agreement

An enterprise agreement (or collective agreement) is an agreement made under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) between a national system employer and some or all its employees who are employed when the agreement is made. The agreement regulates minimum wages and employment conditions for those employees.

An enterprise agreement is a kind of collective agreement that is made, regulated and enforced by the FW Act.

Enterprise agreements are sometimes called workplace agreements, industrial agreements or certified agreements.

The common features of these agreements are:

  • they are made by one or more employers with some or all the employees of the employer/s;
  • they are enforceable as a statutory instrument under the governing legislation (as opposed to being enforceable as a common law agreement under the law of contract);
  • there are rules set out in the governing legislation about how the agreement is to be made, and what it can and cannot contain; and
  • a statutory tribunal needs to approve the agreement before it operates as a statutory instrument.
Important: This chapter deals with enterprise agreements governed by the FW Act. There are state laws operating in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland that deal with agreements for non-national system employees.