Employees may want to negotiate a new agreement with an employer. For some replacement agreements, an employee bargaining representative can write to an employer to ask for bargaining to start.
On this page:
Who can make a request
A bargaining representative of an employee who would be covered by a proposed replacement single-enterprise agreement (that is not a greenfields agreement) can make a request to start bargaining.
The request must be sent to the employer in writing.
When can you make a request
You can make a written request to bargain if all the following requirements are met:
- the proposed agreement will replace an earlier single-enterprise agreement that has passed its nominal expiry date
- a single interest employer authorisation did not cease operating because the earlier agreement was made
- the earlier agreement has passed its nominal expiry date by no more than 5 years
- the proposed agreement will cover the same, or substantially the same, group of employees as the earlier agreement.
See section 173(2A) of the Fair Work Act 2009.
When is the notification time
The date the employer receives the request to bargain is the notification time.
The employer must issue a Notice of employee representational rights (NERR) within 14 days of the notification time.
What happens next
Once the employer has received the request, the bargaining process has started.
If the employer does not bargain after receiving a request, you can apply to the Commission for a bargaining order.
A bargaining representative may apply for a bargaining order if they believe that:
- one or more bargaining representatives are not bargaining in good faith
- the process is not efficient or fair because there are multiple representatives.
Find out more about bargaining orders.