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Enterprise agreements

Enterprise agreements can be made under either state or federal legislation.


Enterprise agreements set out the conditions of employment between workers and employers.

These agreements provide the opportunity to introduce changes relating to wages, working conditions and productivity improvement measures as an alternative to industry-wide awards. They also provide the opportunity to give recognition to many existing workplace arrangements.

Note: The following information relates only to the state public sector, including most State Government business enterprises, and local government entities. We only deal with enterprise agreements made under the South Australian Fair Work Act 1994 (the Act).

Negotiations

An agreement can be negotiated by a person conducting a business or undertaking by:

  • giving 14 days’ notice of their intention to commence negotiations
  • advising workers of their rights and access to awards
  • advising any worker association with members.

Negotiations can involve:

  • the whole workforce
  • employer or worker representatives or committees
  • worker associations or agents.

Once an agreement has been reached it must:

  • be in writing
  • meet the Act’s requirements
  • have support from the majority of workers.

The South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) provides application forms and further guidance on enterprise agreements. The Tribunal may also conciliate or issue directions when parties are working to negotiate an agreement.

Approvals

Within 21 days of an agreement being signed by workers or their representatives, you must apply to the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) for approval.

The SAET’s role is to approve agreements if they satisfy requirements set out in the Act, such as a ‘not inferior’ test. Agreements can be approved for a maximum of 3 years.

Further information

The whole of the private sector, including the non-government community services sector, private schools and universities, is now covered by the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information about Australian workplace agreements.