A collective agreement is a legally binding agreement between an employer and a group of employees, represented by a trade union or other collective bargaining agent. In Australia, these agreements are commonly referred to as enterprise agreements or workplace agreements.

The main purpose of a collective agreement is to establish the terms and conditions of employment for the employees covered by the agreement. These agreements cover a wide range of issues, including wages, hours of work, leave entitlements, and other benefits.

In Australia, collective agreements are governed by the Fair Work Act 2009, which sets out the requirements and procedures for negotiating and approving these agreements. The Act requires that collective agreements are made in good faith, and that they provide for genuine consultation and participation by employees and their representatives.

Collective agreements can be made for an individual workplace, or they can cover a group of related workplaces within a particular industry or sector. They can also be made for a fixed term or indefinite period, and they can be amended or terminated by agreement between the parties.

To be valid, a collective agreement must be approved by the Fair Work Commission. The Commission will only approve an agreement if it is satisfied that it meets all of the requirements of the Fair Work Act, including providing for fair and reasonable wages and conditions of employment.

One significant feature of collective agreements in Australia is that they can override the terms and conditions of an individual employment contract. This means that an employee covered by a collective agreement may have different rights and entitlements than an employee who is not covered by such an agreement.

In summary, a collective agreement is a vital tool for both employees and employers in Australia. By negotiating these agreements in good faith, both parties can establish fair and reasonable terms and conditions of employment that reflect the needs and interests of all parties involved.