Agreements made before 1 Jan 2010
Termination of ‘zombie agreements’ – what you need to know
Most remaining agreements made before 2010 (zombie agreements) automatically terminated on 7 December 2023.
Find out about:
- what applies if your agreement terminated
- moving to an award or another registered agreement
- where to get help.
Before the start of the Fair Work Act, different types of registered agreements could be made. These are commonly called ‘zombie agreements’.
Any agreement that still operated automatically terminated on 7 December 2023, unless an application was made to extend it.
On this page:
The different types of registered agreements that could be made before 1 January 2010 included:
- certified agreements
- collective agreements
- Australian workplace agreements (AWAs)
- individual transitional employment agreements (ITEAs)
- certain collective and individual agreements that were registered under state laws
- enterprise agreements made by the Commission between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2009.
These types of registered agreements are known as zombie agreements and can’t be made anymore.
These types of agreements terminated (‘sunset’) from 7 December 2023, unless an application was made to the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) to extend the termination date for the agreement by up to 4 years at a time.
All agreements made before the introduction of the Fair Work Act automatically ended on 7 December 2023.
Parties to an agreement could previously apply to the Commission to extend the termination date for the agreement by up to 4 years at a time. This is no longer possible.
Employers who had employees covered by these agreements needed to notify those employees in writing that their agreement would terminate on 7 December 2023, unless an application for an extension was made before 7 December 2023. This written notice needed to be provided before 7 June 2023.
Find out more about this process from the Fair Work Commission – Sunsetting of pre-2010 agreements (zombie agreements) – changes from 7 December 2023.
Moving to an award or registered agreement
If an extension application wasn’t made or the Commission refused to grant an extension, the agreement terminated on 7 December 2023. This means that the minimum pay and conditions for employees covered by that agreement may now be set by:
- an award, or
- another registered agreement that applies to the employees.
If an employer and their employees become covered by an award, it’s important that they understand the rules and responsibilities that apply under it. Non-compliance with award obligations breaches the Fair Work Act and can lead to serious penalties.
Employers, representatives or employees may also instead want to bargain for a new registered or enterprise agreement. A new registered agreement needs to be negotiated and approved by the Commission to take effect.
You can find collective agreements from the Fair Work Commission – Find an agreement database.
AWAs and ITEAs are private documents and aren’t available online. If one of these registered agreements exists, the business should have a copy. For further assistance in obtaining a copy you can also Contact us.
We can give information about an AWA or an ITEA to the parties of an agreement. This includes bargaining agents to the agreement at the time the agreement was lodged.
To discuss these documents with us you will need to provide specific information such as the:
- name and address of the employee
- name and address of the business and one of the following:
- agreement reference number
- job role specified in the agreement, or
- classification of the employee.
If you would like to access an agreement that you're not a party to, we will need to check your authority to do so first. Contact us for more information about what this involves.