Enterprise agreements set out the conditions of employment between workers and employers. They can be made under either state or federal legislation.

Enterprise agreements provide the opportunity to introduce changes relating to:

  • wages
  • working conditions
  • productivity improvement measures.

Such agreements are an alternative to industry-wide awards. They also provide the opportunity to recognise other non-award workplace arrangements.

Private sector agreements

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information on private sector workplace agreements.

The private sector is covered by the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009.

The private sector includes:

  • non-government businesses and enterprises
  • non-government community services sector
  • private schools
  • universities.

Public sector agreements

The state public sector, includes most State Government business enterprises, and local government entities. SA public sector enterprise agreements are made under the South Australian Fair Work Act 1994.


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 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.


The South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) are responsible for approving public sector enterprise agreements.

Approval of the agreement can be granted if:

  • it satisfies requirements set out in the Act, such as a ‘not inferior’ test
  • the application for approval to SAET is made within 21 days of the agreement being signed by workers or their representatives
  • the duration of the agreement is no greater than 3 years.