Australian Workplace Agreements: An Employer Response

Paul J. Gollan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


There is considerable political and industrial relations debate in Australia concerning the value and merit of Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs). However, formalised individual agreements are a relatively new phenomenon in the Australian industrial relations landscape. Consequently, to date, there has been limited assessment of employer strategies and the perceived organisational outcomes involved in making and negotiating such agreements. The paper presented here attempts to fill this gap by reviewing responses from 688 employers who approved AWAs with the Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) before February 2000. There are a number of issues that can be identified from this exploratory study. AWA employers were likely to be ‘individualistic’ employers with more individual employee consultation and human resource practices. In addition, the majority of AWAs were introduced to change working time arrangements and simplify existing employment arrangements. According to the survey respondents, employers who have drafted AWAs have generally been able to achieve some positive organisational outcomes and they have generally met the objectives of employers. The survey findings showed that the majority of respondents intended to increase their use of AWAs in the future, citing increased flexibility and some suggesting the benefit of all employees being under one type of industrial relations instrument as the primary reasons for their introduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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