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Fair Work Commission Of Australia

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Discuss about the Fair Work Commission of Australia.



The fair work commission of Australia commenced on 1st July, 2009, initially. FWC came into operations on 1st January 2010.  This commission in Australia was recognized under the Fair work act, 2009 (Fair works commission, 2017). FWC is basically about overseeing and building the relationships at new work place among the existing employees. The fair work commission is an independent body that has authority and power; hence it can regulate the provisions relating to the employment condition, any of the enterprise bargaining, dispute resolution, making and approval of the industrial agreements. The fair work commission functions in such a way so that it creates a well-organized nation system for the regulation of the industrial relations in Australia. The powers and authorities of the industrial relations commission of Australia includes the following powers to:

  • Deciding minimum wages;
  • Tribunal awards;
  • Approving agreements;
  • Assessing the agreements using the overall tests;
  • Assisting both the employers and the employees in resolving the disputes at the workplace;
  • Dealing with the industrial bargaining and actions (Westacott, 2017).

At the industrial level the enterprise agreements are made for the employers and the employees. FWC  is based on the terms and conditions that are to be followed for the employment in particular industry. This is also called as collective agreement or the enterprise agreement. The role of the fair commission of Australia in making the agreement is that, it provides all the information about the procedure of making the enterprise decisions. Also, such information is collected and provided by the fair work commission so that it is assessed in a better way and hence approval of the agreements made is done by the fair work commission Australia. Fair work commission also deals with the industrial dispute that happens regarding terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement with employers and employees of the industry. Basically such agreements are made between one or more employers and for two or more employees (Bray, Waring, Cooper &Macneil, 2014). The need of making the enterprise agreements is that it covers the award of industry and hence as a result by making such enterprise agreement the security for minimum wages and other employment conditions is achieved. In other words, the enterprise agreements can be altered by the fair work commission when it comes to meet the specific requirements relating to the particular enterprise or even occupation in the industry. Fair work commission has come up with such enterprise agreements that include the terms and conditions relating to the:

  • Minimum wage rate of pay of the employees.
  • The conditions relating to the employment that is the number of working hours, lunch break and overtime.
  • Consultative proceedings.
  • Settling the disputes resolution in the industry.
  • Reasons for deduction in the wages of the employee for any purpose by the assigned authority (Fair Works commission, 2017).

However, the exclusions from the role of fair work commission in making any of the enterprise agreement on the industry includes unlawful content that is for the cause of any kind of discrimination of the employees, objectionable terms and harassment of the employees within the industry (Bray & Waring, 2014). This is the role of fair work commission in making of the agreements relating to the terms and conditions of the employers and the employees.

The next is approval process of the enterprise agreements that has been formed by the fair work commission. The approval process for the enterprise agreements depends upon the type of the agreement that has been made. There are basically three types of agreement that is the single enterprise agreement, multi enterprise agreement and the Greenfield agreements. These agreements can be defined as follows:

  • Single enterprise agreements:

The single enterprise agreements are such that they include one or more employers for instance the structure of franchisees. Such that cooperating between them is essential. Such employers involved in the occupation are known as the single interest employers as per the fair work commission Australia.

  • Multi enterprise agreements:

These are such agreements made by the fair works commission that involves two or more than two employers who do not have any such single interest at all. They do not agree on the single terms and condition relating to the industrial tribunal. Such agreements are known as the multi enterprise agreements.

  • Greenfields agreements:

The Greenfield agreement is such that involves a genuinely new enterprise or occupation so that one or more employers are involved into establishing the purpose and who do not have employees or recruited employees yet for the normal conduction of the enterprises. In addition to it, it can be explained as the combination of both the single enterprise and the multi enterprise (Fair works ombudsman, 2017).



The approval of the agreements is given by the Fair Works commission. The procedure of the approval process that involves the role of Fair works commission is as follows. The bargaining and negotiation on such types of agreements created is done and hence these agreements are proposed further for approval (Forsyth, Gahan & Howe, 2011). There are certain measures taken by the fair works commission in the approval. This involves:

The terms and conditions of the agreements made must be explained to the employer. It must be ensured by the employer that what can be the effect of the terms and conditions agreed (Angwin, 2017). Along with the approval of terms and conditions, these are to be explained to the employees also. Next step is the agreement of the content that the employers have agreed upon. The agreement contains the terms as follows:

  • The issues relating the relationship between the employer and the employees those are included in the agreement made.
  • The matters affecting the relationship between the employee and the employer in the organization that are included in the relating agreement (McPhail, Jerrard, & Southcombe, 2015).
  • Matter relating the deduction made from the wages of the employees for any of such purpose that is authorized by the employees those are covered in the agreement.
  • Such terms on which the operation relating to the existing agreement are made.

However, the agreement are approved by the fair works commission that are formed on or after 1st January do not include the terms that involves the superannuation contribution leading the funds of employees for superannuation funds (Wright & Lansbury, 2016), until and unless that fund involves:

  • Offering any super product.
  • Fund is exempted for the public sector scheme.
  • Fund defines the benefit to the relevant employees of the organization.

After deciding the terms and conditions of the agreement the bargaining representative of the agreement must apply for the approval of the agreement to the Fair works commission. This approval can be filed on Form F16- under the head as application for approval of the enterprise agreement. This application must be filed within 14 days from the making of the agreement or any such time period allowed by the fair works commission. This application must be duly signed along with any declaration that is required under the rules of Fair works commission, 2013 (FWC official site, Australia).

The next procedure for the approval by Fair works commission is that the terms and conditions within the agreement has to be satisfied by the commission or has to be taken into consideration for the agreements. These are as follows:

  • The pre-approval steps regarding the agreement must be kept in mind.
  • It is considered that the relevant employees have agreed upon the terms of agreement genuinely.
  • The agreement does not contain any of the unlawful terms.
  • The agreement satisfies the solution to settlement of disputes.
  • Agreement involves the flexibility and the consultation clause.
  • The agreement passes the overall tests.

The Fair work commission approves an enterprise agreement that does not satisfies certain requirements of the Fair Works Act, 2009 and however satisfies the written agreement of the particular concern relating to an enterprise agreement.

The terms and condition, such that the FWC approves the written agreement from the employer is based upon seeking the views on negotiation and bargaining (Townsend, Wilkinson & Burgess, 2013). Along with this, when these conditions meets the requirements, it should not affect the financial issue to any of the employee in the organization. However, it should not result in any further changes in the agreement made.


Hereby, it is concluded that the Fair works commission approves the terms and conditions of the agreement seeking the decision of the agreement. This is the role of fair works commission in the making and approval of any of the enterprise agreement that has been made. The Fair work commission approves an enterprise agreement that does not satisfy certain requirements of the Fair Works Act, 2009. However, satisfies the written agreement of the particular concern relating to an enterprise agreement.



Angwin, M.  (2017), ‘EBAs are now just a blockage to productivity’, Australian Financial Review, 14 February, p. 39.

Bray, M & Waring, P. (2014), ‘Chapter 5: Employment relations’, in R Kramar, T Bartram, H De Cieri, RA Noe, JR Hollenbeck, B Gerhart & PM Wright, Human resource management in Australia: strategy, people, performance, 5th edn, McGraw-Hill Education (Australia), North Ryde, CQUniversity Course Resources Online.

Bray, M, Waring, P, Cooper, R &Macneil, J. (2014), Employment relations: Theory and practice, 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill Education (Australia), North Ryde.

Fair Works commission, (2017), Fair Work Commission, Retrieved on: 3 April, 2017, Accessed from:

Fair works commission, (2017), official website accessed on 2 April, 2017, viewed on

Fair works ombudsman, (2017), agreements, retrieved on: 3 April, 2017, Accessed from:

Forsyth, A, Gahan, P & Howe, J. (2011), ‘Weighty measures: bargaining in balance’, Australian Financial Review, 15 November, p. 63.

McPhail, R, Jerrard, M&Southcombe, A. (2015), Employment relations: an integrated approach, Cengage Learning Australia, South Melbourne.

Townsend, K, Wilkinson, A & Burgess, J. (2013), ‘Is enterprise bargaining still a better way of working?’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 100-117.

Westacott, J. (2017), ‘Enterprise bargaining on the brink’, Australian Financial Review, 2 February, p. 34.

Wright, CF & Lansbury, RD. (2016), ‘Employment relations in Australia’, in GJ Bamber, RD Lansbury, N Wailes& CF Wright (eds), International and comparative employment relations: National regulation, global changes, 6th edn, eds, Allen & Unwin, Crowns Nest.

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