The Walking Dead: Zombie Agreements and the Undead Zone

A “zombie” agreement is one made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996, the legislation before the Fair Work Act. In a crackdown by the Fair Work Commission, all zombie agreements have become listed on the website for employers to review against their own. Those agreements that have sunsetted on 7 December 2023 would have fallen back to the relevant modern Award and negotiation should be started in order to have a new agreement in place.

The agreements affected include registered collective agreements, Australian workplace agreements, and individual transitional employment agreements made before 1 January 2010.

It is important to note that if a new agreement is not in place before 7 December 2023, employees will fall back to the relevant modern award. The modern award will then apply to their employment, and employers will need to ensure that they comply with the terms and conditions of that award. Employers should start the negotiation process in advance of the expiry date to ensure that a new agreement is in place before the existing agreement expires.

If you have a sunsetted “zombie” agreement, it is essential to start the negotiation process now. This will allow sufficient time for negotiations, agreement, and the lodgement of the new agreement for approval.  

If an employer is unsure whether they have a zombie agreement in place, the Fair Work Commission has published a list of zombie agreements. Although, this list is not complete. Employers should consider their employment agreements, which may involve seeking legal advice in terms of negotiating a new agreement that is according to the requirements of the Fair Work Act.

IRIQ are available to assist employers in any way possible, so feel free to give us a call on (07) 3077 6767 for an enquiry on sunsetting zombie agreements.

Key Takeaways

References Agreements made before 1 January 2010