The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department released on 21 December 2021 its latest Trends in Enterprise Bargaining report, containing key insights into coverage of agreements and average wage increases.
Covering data from the September quarter, the report includes the following highlights.
A slight uptick in average wages is the key outtake from this quarter’s report.
The Average Annualised Wage Increase (AAWI) for federal enterprise agreements approved in the September quarter 2021 was 2.7 per cent, up from the 2.4 per cent in the June quarter 2021, and up from 2.6 per cent in the September quarter 2020.
The 2.7 per cent AAWI result is above the historic low of 2.2 per cent in the December quarter 2020. The 2.7 per cent AAWI result is based on the 83.0 per cent of agreements approved in the September quarter 2021, covering 57.7 per cent of employees, which contained quantifiable wage increases.
For the 7,687 enterprise agreements current as at 30 September 2021 (that is, agreements that have not passed the nominal expiry date and have not been terminated) that had a quantifiable wage increase, the AAWI was 2.6 per cent, equal to the 2.6 per cent in the June quarter 2021 and equal to the 2.6 per cent in the September quarter 2020.
Proportion of employees covered
Similarly, the number of enterprise agreements approved also improved slightly, albeit not enough to reverse the long-term downwards trend of EA coverage.
There were 1,272 (180,536 employees) agreements approved in the September quarter 2021, up from 1,065 (100,099 employees) agreements in the June quarter 2021 and up from 716 (60,658 employees) agreements in the September quarter 2020.
The report shows there were 10,110 current (not expired or terminated) agreements as at 30 September 2021. This is slightly less than the 10,188 agreements current as at 30 June 2021 and more than the 9,822 agreements current at 30 September 2020. The September quarter 2021 employee coverage of 1.65 million is lower than the 1.78 million employees covered at 30 June 2021 and is lower than the 1.89 million employees at 30 September 2020.