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Awards and workplace agreements
journal contributionposted on 02.06.2020, 00:00 by Victoria Lambropoulos
This Subtitle examines the two categories of “industrial instruments” that govern collective terms and conditions of employment for employees throughout Australia at the federal level: awards and enterprise agreements (otherwise described as “collective agreements”) governed by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). At its most basic level, “industrial instrument” refers to an instrument that is created and enforced under industrial relations legislation and that contains minimum legal entitlements for workers who come within its scope of coverage. Industrial instruments in the Australian legal system are creatures of statute. They cannot derive their legitimacy from the common law mainly due to the restrictions imposed by basic principles of contract law, in particular privity. Enterprise or collective agreements must be registered in accordance with the requirements of industrial legislation to be enforceable. The term “industrial instrument”, although referred to historically, is not defined in the Fair Work Act 2009. The New South Wales industrial relations legislation defines the term as follows: “Industrial instrument” means an award, an enterprise agreement, a public sector industrial agreement, a former industrial agreement, a contract determination or a contract agreement. This Subtitle examines the federal industrial legislation known as the Fair Work Act 2009.