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An enterprise agreement is a formal employment agreement negotiated between an employer and its employees (or their representatives). The agreement must be registered with the Fair Work Commission and meet the minimum standard of pay in the Award. It can exclude various Award conditions as long as employees are better off under the agreement than the Award.
You can create individual enterprise agreements with different terms and conditions for different groups of employees, but you must group them fairly according to geographical, operational or organisational characteristics. Only one agreement can apply to an employee at any time.
The enterprise bargaining process for making an agreement involves strict processes, paperwork and timeframes.
If you want to initiate the bargaining process, you must issue your employees a Notice of Representational Rights, which notifies them that you want to make an agreement. It also gives them the opportunity to represent themselves or nominate another person or a union to represent them.
If employees want to initiate bargaining, they have to contact the Fair Work Commission to issue an order to the employer about bargaining for a new agreement.
When a bargaining process is initiated it doesn’t necessarily mean agreement will be reached or you must agree to specific terms proposed.
Before an agreement can be voted on, there must be a minimum 21-day bargaining period. Before voting takes place, you must issue various notices and ensure employees can access and understand the content of the agreement.
One day notice to vote on EBA variation
As part of a suite of COVID-19 related responses, the federal government has reduced the minimum period for voting on an EBA variation. The period between issuing employees a notice to vote on an EBA variation and the employees taking a vote, has been reduced from seven days to one day.
This change may assist employers who are ineligible for the JobKeeper payment and who’s EBA is adversely affecting their capacity to adapt to the demands on social distancing.
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