Bill's Media Releases

2.2 million Australians benefiting from the Fair Work Act

Figures released today show that 2.2 million working Australians have benefitted from enterprise agreements made under the Fair Work Act. Enterprise agreements are delivering sustainable wages growth and improved productivity which helps Australian business stay competitive.

Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the Trends in Enterprise Bargaining Report for the December 2011 quarter shows that since the Fair Work Act began, more than 16 200 enterprise agreements have been made, covering 2.2 million employees including 260 000 employees covered by Fair Work Act enterprise agreements approved in the last quarter.

“As at 31 December last year there were 22 457 agreements in operation covering almost 2.5 million employees, including the 2.2 million under the Fair Work Act,” Mr Shorten said.

“It is encouraging to see workplaces taking up the enterprise agreement option, which allows them to set pay and conditions to suit the needs of both workers and employers.”

The report also shows that the Fair Work system is delivering sustainable wages growth.

The report by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations also shows that enterprise agreements made under the Fair Work system contain a range of provisions to improve productivity in the workplace.

“Over 46 per cent of agreements contain a clause committing to improving productivity, more than 94 per cent of agreements have clauses for flexible engagement of employees and almost 74 per cent of agreements provide flexibility in hours of work,” Mr Shorten said.

“It’s also pleasing to see that businesses and organisations continue to invest in training and staff development, with almost 90 per cent of agreements containing provisions relating to training.”

Industries experiencing strong growth in agreement making include:

  • Financial and Insurance Services with an increase in agreements of almost 35 per cent, and the number of employees covered by agreements more than doubling; and

  • Wholesale Trade, where the number of current agreements grew by over 50 per cent in the December quarter and the number of employees covered by agreements in this industry more than tripled.

“The outcomes of this report are a clear demonstration that this Government’s workplace relations policies are delivering fair, productive and sustainable outcomes for Australian employers and employees.”

The December 2011 quarter Trends report is available at:

Minister Shorten’s Media Contact: Sam Casey 0421 697 660