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Enterprise agreements

Last updated January 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 of its employees who are employed when the agreement is made. The agreement regulates minimum wages and employment conditions for those employees. An enterprise agreement may be a single-enterprise agreement, a multi-enterprise agreement or a greenfields agreement.

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 of 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 WA, NSW and Queensland that deal with agreements for nonnational system employees.

In WA, the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) regulates the making of industrial agreements for non-national system employers. Examples include sole traders, partnerships, some trusts, unincorporated businesses, the state government and some local government employers. An example of such an agreement is the City of Kalamunda Operational Workforce Agreement 2021.