This benchbook has been arranged to reflect the process users would follow when bargaining for, and making an enterprise agreement. Issues that may arise at a certain point during the agreement making process will be addressed as they come up. As a result, this benchbook may not deal with these issues in the same order as the Fair Work Act 2009.
Note: The diagram below sets out bargaining process as it applies in general terms. However, this diagram does not relate to the process for making a greenfields agreement.
Employer initiates or agrees to bargain for a proposed enterprise agreement
Employer issues employees with a notice of employee representational rights
Employees may appoint bargaining representatives
Good faith bargaining
Representatives bargain for a proposed enterprise agreement
Employer asks employees to approve proposed enterprise agreement (by voting)
Bargaining representative lodges enterprise agreement with the Commission for approval
The Commission approves enterprise agreement
To assist readers this diagram is reproduced in various parts of this benchbook to illustrate the step(s) in the bargaining process being discussed.
In some cases, the bargaining process can involve other steps, including applications to the Fair Work Commission in relation to the commencement of a bargaining process or applications to deal with an issue arising between the bargaining participants during the bargaining process. In these circumstances, the Commission may be able to assist the parties to address the issue.
See Fair Work Act s.14
Only an employer who is a national system employer can bargain for an enterprise agreement under the Fair Work Act.
Whether an employer is a national system employer depends on the location of the employment relationship (state or territory) and, in some cases, the legal status and business of the employer.
In broad terms the national workplace relations system covers: