The Fair Work Commission has released its annual report for the 2017/18 financial year. The report contains some interesting statistics about enterprise agreement approvals, general protections applications and unfair dismissal applications.

Enterprise agreement approvals

The number of applications for approval of enterprise agreements has remained relatively steady over the past few years. (There were 5,922 applications in 2014/15 and 5,287 in 2017/18). However, approval rates have reduced significantly (5,481 were approved in 2014/15, compared with 3,803 in 2017/18).

Of those agreements which are approved, the proportion approved with undertakings has increased from 30% in 2014/15 to 68% in 2017/18.  Also, the average waiting times for finalisation of applications have increased threefold from an average of 21 days in 2014/15 to an average of 76 days in 2017/18.

General protections disputes involving dismissal

There has been a big increase in the number of general protections disputes involving dismissal in the past year (4,117 applications were lodged with the FWC in 2017/18 compared to 3,729 applications in 2016/17).

Unfair dismissal applications

The number of unfair dismissal applications has declined in the past year (from 14,135 in 2016/17 to 13,595 in 2017/18). One reason for this decline may be that ex-employees who wish to challenge their dismissal are increasingly opting to pursue a general protections application rather than an unfair dismissal application.

If you would like more information about initiating enterprise bargaining or terminating an employee please contact Ai Group’s Workplace Advice Service on 1300 55 66 77.

Alternatively, if you would like advice about applying to the Fair Work Commission for approval of an enterprise agreement, strategies in negotiating an enterprise agreement, or responding to an Fair Work Commission claim for unfair dismissal or general protections, please contact your local employment, workplace and industrial lawyer in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Melbourne or Brisbane or email Ai Group Workplace Lawyers at

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