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Confused about enterprise agreements? Give it the BOOT

Something that sets family businesses apart from others is a focus on family values...

27 July, 2022
Article, Legal, Education
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Confused about enterprise agreements? Give it the BOOT

Something that sets family businesses apart from others is a focus on family values. We all want to look after our staff – and do our best to build a workplace that supports their individual circumstances and ambitions.

One way we can walk the talk is with the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT). Part of the Fair Work Act, the BOOT was introduced to ensure any new enterprise agreement (also known as a loaded rates agreement) leaves salaried workers better off overall, compared to their relevant industry award.

How the BOOT works

Like anything to do with industrial relations law, the BOOT can be a bit tricky to understand. We’ll aim to give you a good introduction here, but it’s best to chat with your legal advisor to see how it applies to your business.

Here are some basics to get you started:

  • There are two steps to getting a new enterprise agreement approved: the majority of your employees must first vote in favour of it, and then the Fair Work Commission (FWC) must give its approval using measures such as the BOOT.
  • An enterprise agreement will only pass the BOOT if every existing and prospective salaried employee covered by the same award is better off overall – not just one, some or most.
  • The FWC will make an overall assessment of whether a salaried employee would be better off under the enterprise agreement, by looking at the terms that are more beneficial for them as well as the terms that aren’t.
  • The BOOT also involves assessing how ordinary and overtime hours practices and arrangements compare to the relevant basic award conditions.
  • The FWC may want to look at your rosters, to see how a loaded pay rate structure would compare to remuneration under the relevant award.
  • The FWC will also look at non-monetary entitlements when deciding if salaried workers will be better off overall under the enterprise agreement – an understandably more complex process.

How to make the BOOT easy

Just like timesheets, rosters and pay, figuring out if your salaried employees will be better off under an agreement compared to the terms in their relevant award is pretty difficult to do manually.

That’s where an automated system with reporting configured to your family business can be invaluable.

“Aside from helping you save a lot of time, a cloud-based workforce management platform with built-in BOOT reporting functionality also gives you confidence and peace of mind that your business is compliant,” says Kobi Sedsman, Director of Operations for Wageloch – a South Australian family-owned business for over 16 years.

Wageloch added BOOT reporting to its platform after high customer demand for the function.

“We’re all about making it as easy as possible for our customers to run their business, so it was a no-brainer to let them see at a glance whether their team would be better off under a new agreement or their award.”

Since 2006, Wageloch has helped thousands of family-owned Australian businesses overcome their biggest challenges with simple yet smart software solutions. You can try it today by booking a demo that’s customised to your workplace.

Written by Wageloch


The views expressed in this content are those of the author, who is also responsible for any errors and omissions. Family Business Australia and New Zealand provides this article for your information only. The content of the article should not be taken as advice. If you wish to explore this topic, please consult an advisor who you consider to have the expertise to provide specific advice in relation to your family business.