With the passing of the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022, a 12-month timer has begun on all ‘zombie’ enterprise agreements.
What is a ‘zombie’ agreement?
A zombie agreement is a coverall term that refers to agreement-based transitional instruments, such as workplace agreements or workplace determinations made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996. Most commonly, these are enterprise agreements that were made prior to 2009 and have long aged and passed their nominally expiry dates (hence the term ‘zombie’). Given these agreements were made prior to the Fair Work Act 2009, they did not need to meet the ‘better off overall test’ and apply to the exclusion of modern awards.
What are the changes?
Under the new amendments, agreement-based transitional instruments made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, will automatically expire on 7 December 2023, meaning they will no longer apply. Employers covered by an affected agreement (Agreement) will need to ensure that:
• By 7 June 2023, you inform your employees:
o That they are covered by the Agreement;
o That on 7 December 2022, the sunset provisions came into effect; and
o That, unless an application is made to extend the Agreement’s termination date, the Agreement will terminate on 7 December 2023.
• Unless terminated earlier, from 7 December 2023, you are prepared to comply with your obligations under any applicable modern award or have sought to have a new enterprise agreement approved.