Awards & agreements | Employing people 

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Modern awards

Modern awards are industry or occupation based minimum employment standards which apply in addition to the National Employment Standards (NES). Most industries have a modern award, which covers all employers and employees in that sector.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman's website for more information about modern awards, including how to find the right modern awards External link for your employees.

Enterprise agreements

Enterprise agreements set out conditions of employment for a group of employees at one or more workplaces. Enterprise agreements will apply instead of a modern award. The pay rate in an enterprise agreement can't be less than the pay rate in the relevant modern award.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman's website for more information about enterprise agreements External link.


Common law contracts of employment can also set out wages and conditions for employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement, or to provide conditions in excess of an employee’s minimum entitlements. As contracts can be changed and updated at any time, they can provide flexibility to your workforce. However, if you wish to change the terms of an employment contract, you must first have the changes agreed to by your staff. A contract can’t provide minimum wages or conditions which are less than those provided in an award, agreement or the Fair Work Act 2009.

What to do...