In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an amendment has been made to the Fair Work Regulations 2009.
The Fair Work Amendment (Variation of Enterprise Agreements) Regulations 2020 (the Amendment Regulations) shorten the access period for a proposed variation of an enterprise agreement from seven (7) calendar days to one (1) calendar day.
The Amendment Regulations shorten the period that employees must have access to a copy of a proposed variation of an enterprise agreement, and before which employees must be notified of the details of the vote on the variation, from 7 calendar days to 1 calendar day. Employees will still be required to have genuinely agreed to a variation of an enterprise agreement.
The Amendment Regulations apply in relation to the access period for a proposed variation of an enterprise agreement that starts on or after the commencement of the Amendment Regulations.
This change to the regulations applies to access periods that start on or after 17 April 2020.
As this is only intended to be a temporary measure to support employers and employees during the current pandemic, the measure will be repealed 6 months after commencement, or at a later time prescribed by the Fair Work Regulations.
A copy of the amendment to the regulations can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation website:
The Fair Work Commission will expedite any applications to vary agreements sent to COVID19Applications@fwc.gov.au.
Enterprise agreements can be varied, with the approval of the Fair Work Commission, in 2 ways:
The Commission provides a checklist to assist with varying an agreement:
Employers and their employees may agree to vary an enterprise agreement, but such a variation has no effect unless it is approved by the Fair Work Commission.
An employer may request that the employees endorse the variation by voting for it.
To seek approval of an enterprise agreement variation by the Commission, a person covered by the agreement must make an application using Form F23, which is available on our Forms page.
The application must be accompanied by:
The variation is the document employees are being asked to approve.
Any of the parties to an enterprise agreement, an agreement-based transitional instrument or a Division 2B State instrument may apply to the Commission for a variation of their agreement to remove ambiguity or uncertainty.
If the parties to an agreement do not agree about a proposed variation, the Commission can help them resolve their differences.
A variation operates from the day specified in the Commission's decision to vary the agreement.
All the forms are available from our Forms page.