Reading time: 3 minutes

You may have created an agreement with your employees only to realise you needed to change something or unfortunately terminate it. There are different processes to vary terms of the agreement, depending on the type of agreement you have entered into. Here’s a quick guide on the steps involved in amending or ending an enterprise agreement.

Changing an Agreement

The process is quite similar to making an agreement in the first place. You and your employees have to agree to change a term of the agreement, and once it is approved by a majority of your employees, you must apply to the Fair Work Commission to have it approved.

For a single-enterprise agreement, the change is approved by a majority of the employees who will be affected by the change. For a multi-enterprise agreement, the process is different from that of the original agreement. It has to be approved by a majority of the affected employees of each of the employers. Similarly, the process for a Greenfields Agreement differs from the original process, as a change to the agreement can only be made if at least one employee covered by the agreement has been employed.

The Fair Work Commission then undertakes the same approval process as with an original agreement, and must check that it still meets all of the requirements, including the ‘better off overall’ test and the National Employment Standards.

Terminating an Agreement

You and your employees may agree to terminate an agreement at any time while the agreement is in place. Your employees need to vote in favour of terminating the agreement, and then it needs to be approved by the Fair Work Commission. If you are looking to replace your old agreement with a new one, the old one will need to be terminated first, unless the old agreement has passed the expiry date.

If the employment agreement has passed its nominated expiry date, then you or your employees can apply for it to be terminated. The Fair Work Commission then makes sure it is not against the public interest for the agreement to be finalised, and it will also take into account whether terminating the agreement is appropriate in the circumstances. This includes your view, and the views of your employees and any unions that are involved. It is important to consider what impact the termination will have on all parties involved. The Fair Work Commission will also consider how terminating the agreement will affect your employees’ ability to bargain effectively.

The recent case of Aurizon Operations Limited: Aurizon Network Pty Ltd; Australia Eastern Railroad Pty Ltd [2015] FWCFB 540 has enhanced the ability for employers to terminate agreements where negotiations with employees are dragged out well beyond the expiry date, particularly in circumstances where it affects the employer’s ability to handle business operations.


Changing or terminating an enterprise agreement can be tricky depending on your individual circumstances and your relationship with your employees. Getting the advice of a specialised employment lawyer from LegalVision may just be the help you need to ensure a successful outcome for your business. Contact us on 1300 544 755 if you have any questions.


New Kid on the Blockchain: Understanding the Proposed Laws for Crypto, NFT and Blockchain Projects

Wednesday 25 May | 10:00 - 10:45am

If you operate in the crypto space, ensure you understand the Federal Government’s proposed licensing and regulation changes. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

How to Expand Your Business Into a Franchise

Thursday 26 May | 11:00 - 11:45am

Drive rapid growth in your business by turning it into a franchise. To learn how, join our free webinar. Register today.
Register Now

Day in Court: What Happens When Your Business Goes to Court

Thursday 2 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

If your business is going to court, then you need to understand the process. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Manage a Construction Dispute

Thursday 9 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Protect your construction firm from disputes. To understand how, join our free webinar.
Register Now

Startup Financing: Venture Debt 101

Thursday 23 June | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how venture debt can help take your startup to the next level. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards