Bargaining for occupational contracts

Collective bargaining at the occupational level produces occupational contracts. These contracts cover all work done by an occupational group. They set minimum terms for the occupational group.

Occupational contracts

Occupational Bargaining in the Screen Industry - A guide for screen industry organisations [PDF 1.1MB]

Occupational contracts set minimum terms for an occupational group and are bargained between worker and engager organisations.

Occupational contracts apply to all workers and engagers within the occupational group, regardless of whether they are members of the organisations who bargained the contract.

There can only be one occupational contract per occupational group.

An industry party (such as a union, guild or producer organisation) who wants to participate in collective bargaining must register as a worker organisation or engager organisation.

Information on how to register is available on the Companies Office website (external link)

Eligible occupational groups

Occupational contracts can only be negotiated for the following occupational groups:

  • composers
  • directors
  • game developers
  • performers
  • writers
  • technicians (post-production)
  • technicians (production)

Any worker who does not fit into one of the first five occupational groups (above) will be covered by either the technicians (post-production) or technicians (production) group, depending on what stage of the production they work on. This ensures all workers covered by the Screen Industry Workers Act belong to an occupational group.

Under the Screen Industry Workers Act, the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety can change these occupational groups. 

Occupational bargaining process

Exemptions from occupational contracts

An exemption allows an engager to include a term in an individual contract that is less favourable than a term in the occupational contract.

An exemption from an occupational contract is only allowed if all criteria below are met:

  • it is for a specific production
  • it does not relate to pay rates in the occupational contract
  • the exemption threshold has been met – this means complying with a term(s) in the occupational contract would cause significant disruption to the production that could not have reasonably been foreseen
  • all workers concerned agree to the less favourable term

Before seeking the workers’ agreement to the less favourable term allowed under an exemption, the engager must tell the workers concerned that they can seek independent advice about the less favourable term and give them a reasonable opportunity to do so. The engager must consider any issues raised by the workers and respond to them in good faith.

There are two processes for exemptions – a standard process and a process for immediately needed exemptions.

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Page last revised: 02 March 2023

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