Following on from a recent decision in which a ‘no extra claims’ clause in an enterprise agreement prohibited an employer unilaterally varying employment benefits, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has recently affirmed this approach to interpreting the scope of no extra claims clauses in relation to employment conditions (DL Employment Pty Ltd v Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union [2014] FWCFB 7946.)

The Full Bench held that the interaction and cumulative effect of the clauses:

  • allowing for ‘no extra claims’;
  • setting out that the enterprise agreement provides an exhaustive statement of the parties’ rights and obligations; and
  • requiring collective bargaining over employment matters,

displaced and rendered inoperative a new contractual term allowing an employer to unilaterally relocate employees to a new location. The Full Bench concluded it was an object of the enterprise agreement to set out comprehensively and prescriptively the terms and conditions of employment while the enterprise agreement remained in force.

Phrases in enterprise agreements that indicate the agreement is an exhaustive statement of the parties’ rights and obligations, in combination with ‘no extra claims’ clauses can inhibit an employer’s ability to then vary conditions of employment. This should considered at the drafting stage to ensure the ‘no extra claims’ clause is limited to those matters dealt with specifically in the enterprise agreement.

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