What are Zombie Agreements?
You know what a zombie is:
But do you know what a Zombie Agreement is?
It’s not that.
A ‘Zombie Agreement’ is a type of registered agreement that was made before 1 January 2010 and is still in operation today.
Certain kinds of registered agreements that were made before 1 January 2010 continued to operate when the Fair Work Act 2009 fully commenced on 1 January 2010 (‘pre-2010 agreements’).
Pre-2010 agreements include:
- certified agreements
- collective agreements
- Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) and Individual Transitional Employment Agreements (ITEAs) made under previous Commonwealth law
- collective and individual agreements that were registered under New South Wales, Queensland, South Australian and Tasmanian industrial relations laws
- enterprise agreements made by the Commission in the ‘bridging period’ between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2009.
Many pre-2010 agreements no longer cover anyone and have ceased to operate.
However some pre-2010 agreements still cover employees and continue to operate today, and these are commonly known as ‘Zombie Agreements’.
Why do we care about Zombie Agreements?
On 7 December 2023, Zombie Agreements will automatically terminate unless an application has been made to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to extend it.
When a Zombie Agreement terminates, it ceases to cover any staff and the legal minimum pay and conditions for staff that were covered by the Agreement are very likely to change.
New pay and conditions may be set by a modern award or by a new Enterprise Agreement.
This can leave staff vulnerable if there is no new Enterprise Agreement in place. In some cases, you may not want a Zombie Agreement to terminate so as to protect existing pay and conditions while a new Agreement is negotiated.