An employer may have separate enterprise agreements with different categories of workers, with conditions specifically tailored to this group. However, categories of workers must be chosen fairly, taking into account geographical, professional and organizational characteristics. The Fair Work Commission can then help some low-paid workers and their employers negotiate an agreement on several companies and make a decision in certain circumstances. An enterprise agreement defines the conventional terms of employment between an employer and a group of workers that are normally concluded in good faith after negotiation between the workers, their representatives (often with a union) and the employer. The terms of an enterprise agreement, transitional instruments (assignment or convention) and modern rewards cannot exclude the NES, and those who do so will have no effect. Note: For requests for agreement with several companies or if you are about to start a series of sectoral negotiations that will result in the submission of a large number of applications for contract authorization. Communication to the Commission prior to the submission of the application will help the Commission to process applications in a timely and consistent manner. In good practice negotiations, employers and workers who cooperate in good faith should be seen as equal partners in achieving a common goal. However, the employer, which plays a proactive role, is essential. The development of the agreement also allows employers to remain on the front line: inciting and negotiating at a time that suits them, unlike when a union wants an agreement and the organization is not ready or has limited resources to invest in the process.
Federal employment contract laws have changed several times in recent years. Prior to the WorkChoices Act in March 2006, employment contracts were referred to as certified employment contracts (agreements between an employer and a group of workers) and Australian employment contracts or AWAs (agreements between an employer and a single worker). For more information on agreement-based transitional instruments, including the modification and termination of these agreements, see www.fairwork.gov.au.