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Secure Jobs, Better Pay – Initiating Bargaining for a Single Enterprise Agreement

The new Secure Jobs and Better Pay Act 2022 has reduced the number of obstacles for employees to start enterprise bargaining with their employers. This is in a government-initiated effort to improve wages and conditions for workers overall.

This now means an employee representative (i.e., union representative for the workers) can give the employer a written notice to request starting the enterprise bargaining process. It will now be significantly easier for the single enterprise bargaining process to start for this reason, and this is likely to affect employers across many industries.

There are new conditions which must be met before the bargaining process can begin and they are:

  • The proposed agreement will replace an earlier single enterprise agreement that has nominally expired
  • It will cover approximately the same group of workers as the earlier agreement
  • Single-interest employer authorisation did not stop to be in operation because of making an earlier agreement
  • It is no more than 5 years since the nominated expiry date

This will mainly effect employers who are trying to phase out an enterprise bargaining process, rather than those using the award system.

Additionally, the employee representative can more easily bring employers back into the Enterprise Agreement bargaining process as it is easier for another Enterprise Agreement process to be started and finalised. This may lead to employees taking more initiative in negotiating for better conditions.

These changes are a fundamental shift in the way Enterprise Bargaining processes have been conducted in the past. It is likely that this new process and its associated conditions will be the process used as the way negotiations will be conducted going forward.

If you are not across how these changes will affect your business or organisation, this could lead to significant adverse impacts for employers who are caught unaware. 

It is crucial that you are not having to learn about these changes after having received a written notice from an employee representative and getting up to speed after it is too late. 

Fortunately, Performance Advantage is here to help. Managing changes such as these and helping employers stay ahead of their HR and IR compliance requirements is what we are here to help with. We provide consulting and advisory services that are completely customised to suit your business size and needs.  If you, your business or your organisation have any questions about these changes or need assistance to implement policies to accommodate these changes, please contact us or on 0408897079. 

Suzanne Diprose, Director
0408 897 079