See Fair Work Act 2009 ss.242–245
A bargaining representative or a union entitled to represent the industrial interests of an employee in relation to work to be performed under a proposed multi-enterprise agreement may apply for a low-paid authorisation.
If granted, a low-paid authorisation makes additional rules applicable to certain employers in relation to a multi-enterprise agreement. Employers specified in a low-paid authorisation will be obliged to bargain in good faith and will be required to give employees a notice of employee representational rights (which is not generally the case for multi-enterprise agreement making).
An application for a bargaining order cannot be made in relation to a proposed multi-enterprise agreement unless a low-paid authorisation is in operation in relation to the agreement. The Fair Work Commission also has additional powers to facilitate bargaining for the agreement (including on its own initiative).
A low-paid authorisation is only available in relation to a proposed multi-enterprise agreement, and cannot be made in relation to a proposed greenfields agreement.
Application for a low-paid authorisation
Low-paid authorisation made by the Commission
Employer issues employees with a notice of employee representational rights
Employees may appoint bargaining representatives
Good faith bargaining
Representatives bargain for a proposed enterprise agreement
The Commission provides assitance to bargaining representatives to facilitate bargaining
Employer asks employees to approve proposed enterprise agreement (by voting)
Bargaining representative lodges enterprise agreement with the Commission for approval
The Commission approves enterprise agreement
An application for a low-paid authorisation must specify the employers and employees that will be covered by the agreement.
If an application has been made, the Commission must make a low-paid authorisation if satisfied that it is in the public interest to make the authorisation.
In considering whether it is in the public interest to make a low-paid authorisation, the Commission must take into account the following matters related to historical and current collective bargaining:
The Commission must also take into account the following matters related to the likely success of collective bargaining:
Where the Commission has made a low-paid authorisation, it comes into operation on the day on which it is made. The authorisation must specify:
A low-paid authorisation may be varied to add and remove employer names.
The Commission must vary the low-paid authorisation to remove an employer’s name if it is satisfied that, because of a change in the employer's circumstances, it is no longer appropriate for the employer to be specified in the authorisation.
The Commission must vary a low-paid authorisation to add an employer's name if it is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do. In determining whether is in the public interest to add an employer's name to a low-paid authorisation, the Commission must take the same matters into account as those taken into account when deciding whether or not to make a low paid authorisation.
If a low-paid authorisation is in operation in relation to a proposed multi-enterprise agreement, the Commission may, on its own initiative, provide the bargaining representatives for the agreement with assistance that the Commission:
 Fair Work Act s.242(1).
 Explanatory Memorandum to Fair Work Bill 2008 at para. 1004.
 Fair Work Act s.229(2).
 Fair Work Act s.242(3).
 Fair Work Act s.243(1).
 Fair Work Act s.243(2).
 Fair Work Act s.243(3).
 Fair Work Act s.243(5).
 Fair Work Act s.243(4).
 Fair Work Act s.244.
 Fair Work Act s.244(2).
 Fair Work Act s.244(4).
 Fair Work Act s.246.