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The Australian National University

Enterprise Bargaining as a Tool to Reduce Regulatory Layering: A Content Analysis Study

Carolyn Sutherland (2014) 42 (3)

This article assesses whether Australia’s system of enterprise bargaining has helped to streamline workplace relations rules by replacing overlapping industrial instruments with a single enterprise agreement. It presents empirical findings from a content analysis study of enterprise agreements made in the higher education and fast food sectors between 1993 and 2011. These findings suggest that there has been a remarkable shift over time in the contribution of enterprise agreements to the problem of regulatory ‘layering’. Whereas the majority of early agreements exacerbated the problem by inserting new arrangements on top of existing industrial instruments, more recent agreements have tended to replace multiple instruments with a single agreement. The empirical findings also point to various ways in which legislative reforms and funding incentives have contributed to this shift towards greater simplicity in the workplace relations system.

Vol 42, Issue 3, 2014

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