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Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018

Commonwealth enterprise bargaining 2019 summary

The Government's Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 provides each agency the flexibility to adopt any form of workplace arrangements that best suits its employees and business needs.

As at 1 January 2020, 41 agencies have chosen, with employee support, to introduce determinations that provide employees with timely pay increases, including at the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Defence, the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, the Department of the Environment and Energy and the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Staff in 14 agencies voted up 14 new enterprise agreements in 2019. Successful ballots were held at the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and the Fair Work Ombudsman and Registered Organisations Commission.

Currently 10 agencies are bargaining. Of these 2 are APS agencies and 8 non-APS agencies.

Since the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 commenced, 50 enterprise agreements put to ballot have been voted up.

Of the 6 unsuccessful ballots, all were followed up with successful ballots.

Agencies using determination to provide pay increases

The Government's Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 provides the flexibility for an agency to adopt any form of workplace arrangements that best suits its employees and its business needs.

As at 1 October 2019, 30 agencies have chosen, with employee support, to introduce determinations that provide employees with timely pay increases. These determinations are made under either the Public Service Act 1999 or an agency's enabling legislation. The determinations sit on top of enterprise agreements past their nominal expiry dates.

In these cases, the underlying agreements continue to operate while the determinations simply provide pay increases without needing to bargain for a new agreement. Terms and conditions of employment continue to exist in enterprise agreements. Moreover, employee rights to collectively bargain are protected in the Fair Work Act 2009.

Before making a determination, these agencies have undertaken extensive consultation with their employees to ensure they are comfortable with this approach and support it. Further information on using determinations is contained in the Using determinations Bargaining Q&A.

Agency discretion to apply pay increases

On 30 October 2018, the APS Commissioner advised agencies of a change to the application of the Government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 following discussions with a number of agencies.

In certain circumstances, agencies will have discretion to apply the first pay increase of their newly approved enterprise agreements at an earlier date. This approach is to ensure staff in agencies receive fair and timely pay increases.

Agencies will continue to apply the Government’s policy. These administrative arrangements only apply after staff vote up new enterprise agreements.

This decision allows that if more than 12-weeks elapse between employees voting up a new agreement and Fair Work Commission approval, a new enterprise agreement’s first pay increase may apply from the 12-week mark. The increase will be paid upon commencement of the new agreement. Agencies that have commenced bargaining can include a clause in their proposed enterprise agreement to enable this decision.

Agencies should contact their APSC Relationship Manager for more information on the decision, or write to workplacerelations [at] apsc.gov.au.

APS remuneration reports

A census of APS employee remuneration is conducted annually. The census provides participating agencies with agency-specific and APS-wide data that informs their remuneration practices. Read the reports 

Award modernisation

Information about the process of award modernisation in the Commonwealth public sector. 

Allowance subscription service

We provide an allowance subscription service on a fee-for-service basis which updates a range of employment-related allowances. 

Legislative framework

The legislative framework for employment in the APS. 

Enterprise Bargaining Guide

The APSC's Enterprise Bargaining Guide developed as part of the Workplace Relations Capability Program.

Last reviewed: 
8 January 2020