An Australian workplace agreement (AWA) was a formalized individual agreement negotiated by the boss and employee. Employers could offer a "take it or leave it" AWA as a condition of employment. They were registered by the employment advocate and did not require a dispute resolution procedure. These agreements such as performance evaluations, operate only at the federal level. AWAs were individual written agreements on terms and conditions of employment between an employer and employee in Australia, under the Workplace Relations Act 1996. An AWA could override employment conditions in state or territory laws except for occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation or training arrangements. An AWA was required to meet only the most minimal Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard. Agreements were not required to include effective dispute resolution procedure, and could not include prohibited content. Agreements were for a maximum of five years; approved, promoted and registered by the Workplace Authority; operate to the exclusion of any award; and prohibit industrial action regarding details in the agreement for the life of the agreement. The introduction of the Australian Workplace Agreements was a controversial industrial relations issue in Australia.
During a Senate Estimates hearing on 29 May 2006, Peter McIlwain, Head of the Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) detailed that from a sample of 4 per cent, or 250, of the total 6,263 AWAs lodged during April 2006 after WorkChoices was introduced, that: 100% of AWAs removed at least one protected Award condition; 64% of AWAs have removed annual leave loadings; 63% of AWAs have stripped out penalty rates; 52% of AWAs have cut out shift loadings; 40% of AWAs have dropped gazetted public holidays; and 16% of AWAs, have slashed all award conditions and only the Government's five minimum conditions are satisfied.
New AWAs were banned under the Fair Work Act 2009.
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