When it comes to negotiating working conditions between employees and employers, there are two main legal instruments used in Australia: enterprise agreements and awards. Although each has its advantages and disadvantages, enterprise agreements often provide more benefits for both parties involved.
Firstly, an enterprise agreement is a legally binding agreement that is negotiated between an employer and their employees, or a group of employees. Once an agreement is made, it replaces any existing awards or workplace agreements that may have been in place. This means that the terms and conditions outlined in the agreement apply to all the employees covered by it, regardless of their classification or occupation.
On the other hand, an award is a set of minimum terms and conditions that apply to employees in a particular industry or occupation. They are created by the Fair Work Commission and outline the minimum pay rates, working hours, and other entitlements that employers must provide. Awards are not negotiable and apply to all employees covered by them.
Here are some reasons why enterprise agreements are often better than awards:
1. Customization: Enterprise agreements can be customized to meet the specific needs of a company and its employees. This allows for greater flexibility in terms of working hours, pay rates, and other conditions that may be important to both parties.
2. Higher wages: Enterprise agreements often provide higher wages than awards. This is because negotiations take place between the employer and employees, which allows for a more fair and equitable outcome.
3. Greater job security: Enterprise agreements provide greater job security for employees. This is because they often include provisions for redundancy payments and offer protection against unfair dismissal.
4. Flexibility: Enterprise agreements can be modified or amended as needed. This means that if circumstances change, the agreement can be updated to reflect these changes.
5. Improved workplace culture: Enterprise agreements can help improve workplace culture by promoting greater collaboration and communication between employees and employers. This in turn can lead to better working conditions and higher employee morale.
Ultimately, enterprise agreements provide more benefits for both employees and employers when compared to awards. They offer greater customization, higher wages, greater job security, flexibility, and improved workplace culture. It’s important for employers to consider the advantages of enterprise agreements when negotiating with their employees to create a positive and fair working environment.