The benefits of being on an agreement

Posted on
May 3, 2023

It pays to have an EBA

There are two ways your pay and working conditions can be set in Australia: by a national Award, or by an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) between workers and their employer.

An Award lays out the absolute minimum wages and entitlements for an industry and is controlled by the Fair Work Commission – by law, this is all your employer has to give you.

That is, unless you have an EBA at your workplace. Your workplace agreement, if you have one, can give you better pay and conditions than the Award. That’s one of the reasons why it pays to be on an EBA.

If you want to have more days of sick leave than the Award gives you, for example, you can include this as a “claim” when your agreement is being negotiated. Usually, negotiations will involve workers coming up with a list of improvements you want (this is called a “log of claims”) and then your bargaining representatives go to the bargaining table to negotiate with your employer about what your working conditions will look like in the agreement.

If the employer doesn’t agree to a certain claim you have for your agreement, you then have the power to take industrial action to put pressure on them to comply.

Another great reason to have an EBA is that a workplace agreement can also cover circumstances that the Award hasn’t accounted for or are unique to your work – for example, certain on-call or overtime arrangements.

Union members in workplaces with EBAs have better pay and conditions than their non-union counterparts. So, if you’re ever asked to sign a majority support petition to put your workplace on an agreement – please do!

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email or complete our online contact form