Agreements made before 1 Jan 2010

Before the start of the Fair Work Act, different types of registered agreements could be made.

Agreements made before this start date that continue to operate today are known as ‘zombie agreements’.

Types of agreements made before 1 January 2010

The different types of registered agreements that could be made before 1 January 2010 included:

  • collective agreements
  • Australian workplace agreements (AWAs)
  • individual transitional employment agreements (ITEAs).

These types of registered agreements can’t be made anymore.

A collective agreement is negotiated between the employer and a group of employees.

AWAs and ITEAs are signed between an employer and an employee.

All registered agreements had to be lodged with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission or the Workplace Authority.

These types of agreements can still exist today. They will continue to apply until they automatically ‘sunset’ (terminate) from 7 December 2023. Learn more below.

Termination of zombie agreements

All agreements made before the introduction of the Fair Work Act will automatically end on 7 December 2023. This process is called ‘sunsetting’.

These agreements, commonly known as ‘zombie agreements’, include:

  • agreement-based transitional instruments
  • Division 2B state employment agreements
  • enterprise agreements made between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2009.

Parties to an agreement can apply to the Fair Work Commission to extend the termination date for the agreement by up to 4 years at a time.

Applications need to meet certain conditions. For example, that bargaining is underway for a proposed replacement agreement or employees would be better off under the zombie agreement.

Employers who have employees covered by these agreements need to notify those employees in writing that their agreement will terminate on 7 December 2023 unless an application for an extension is made. This written notice needs to be provided before 7 June 2023. Employers who don’t notify their employees in line with these rules may face penalties. You can read our Compliance and Enforcement Policy for information about how we perform our compliance and enforcement role.

Find out more about this process from the Fair Work Commission – Sunsetting of zombie agreements.

Where to find these agreements

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
  • the name and address of the business and one of the following:
  • the agreement reference number
  • the job role specified in the agreement, or
  • the 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.

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