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Drafting Workplace Agreements

The importance of taking great care when drafting the Application and Parties Bound clauses in workplace agreements was highlighted in a recent case known as Michael Goldie and Envotec Pty Ltd, PR973495.

In this case, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) held that the Envotec agreement covered all employees of the company engaged in the Graphic Arts Industry regardless of whether or not they are covered by the classification structure in the award. The effect of the ruling was that Envotec's agreement unintentionally covered the Company's warehouse manager.

This ruling arose out of the AIRC's interpretation of the term "occupations, industries and/or callings" to mean that the agreement covers an employee if he or she is engaged within an occupation or industry or calling covered by the award.

The relevant clause in the Envotec workplace agreement contained relatively common wording, as set out below:

"This agreement shall be binding on (iii) The AFMEPKIU and those employees engaged in the occupations, industries and/or callings covered by the Graphic Arts - General - Award 2000".

The Commission has also previously come to the same conclusion in Singh v Envotec Pty Ltd. In this case the Commission noted that the company is  engaged in envelope making and the Envotec Agreement specified that the coverage of the agreement was  defined as the occupations, industries and callings in the Award. Consequently the Commission ruled that the employee was covered by the Agreement, in that he was an employee engaged by the Company to perform work in the industry of envelope making- an industry or calling specified the Award and within the defined application of the Envotec Agreement.

As a result "Application" and "Parties Bound" clauses in workplace agreements need to be drafted very carefully to ensure that there is no ambiguity or uncertainty regarding the employees covered. Secondly employees engaged in a supervisory and/or managerial role should be explicitly excluded.

Ai Group can provide assistance in drafting or reviewing a workplace agreement.

For assistance contact the Ai Group Advice Line on 1300 55 66 77 or email info@aigroup.com.au. Alternatively, you can contact the Printing and Packaging Adviser in your capital city.

Contact us

Jon Onley
National Business Development Manager - Industry Sectors
Tel: (03) 9867 0291

Queensland - Workplace Relations
David Miller
Legal Counsel - Workplace Relations
Tel: (07) 3244 1777
Email:david.miller@aigroup.com.au