Upcoming Changes to Zombie Agreements and Fixed Term Contracts

14 November 2023

As part of the Australian Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill, from December 2023 new laws will be taking effect regarding fixed-term contracts and ‘zombie agreements’.  

6 December 2023

From 6 December 2023, there will be new rules relating to the establishment and continuity of fixed-term contracts.

  • Employers must provide new employees engaged on a fixed-term contract with 2 critical documents:
    • Fixed-Term Contract Information Statement (FTCIS)
    • Fair Work Information Statement
  • Fixed-term contracts must not last for more than 2 years. This includes any extensions and renewals.
  • A fixed-term contract is unable to be extended or renewed more than once.
  • Employers are unable to re-employ someone on a fixed-term contract if:
    • The contract is mainly for the same work as a previous fixed-term contract, and
    • There is not a substantial break between the previous and new contracts, and
    • Any of the following apply:
      • The combined total period of the previous and new contract is over 2 years, or
      • The new fixed term contract is eligible for renewal or extension, or
      • The previous fixed-term contract has already been extended, or
      • A fixed-term contract existed before the previous contract which detailed (mainly) the same work and a continuity of the employment relationship.

There are some exceptions however the exceptions mainly refer to special circumstances. Full detail can be found below.


If a fixed-term contract fails to meet these new obligations after 6 December 2023, all terms of the contract will remain valid except for the expiration date of the contract. This means that the employee covered by that contract may be employed for an indefinite period of time.

7 December 2023

The Fair Work Commission has released notice that as of 7 December 2023, the zombie agreements will cease to operate. ‘Zombie Agreements’ are agreements created before 1 January 2010 and are still operating today. There are several types of collective and individual agreements, including state employment agreements and Enterprise agreements. Many of these pre-2010 agreements have now ceased to operate, but some continue to apply to contemporary workplaces.

The termination of these agreements is known as ‘sunsetting’. This is important to consider because the sunsetting of a zombie agreement may mean that the legal requirements for employees that are covered under that agreement, such as pay and workplace conditions, may change.

However, some businesses, individuals, or unions (representing one or more employees) may want to keep a zombie agreement in place past 7 December 2023. In this case, they must make an application to the Fair Work Commission to extend the agreement.

This application must be made before 7 December 2023 using the following form (https://www.fwc.gov.au/agreements-awards/enterprise-agreements/sunsetting-pre-2010-agreements/application-extend-default), upon which the Commission may grant an extension of up to four years. The agreement will subsequently last for as long as the Commission has extended its operation to.

For more information regarding these changes, please contact us via the link below.