Woolworths argues that the clause is unclear and has requested that his agreement be amended within the Commission to be in line with what he claims to be the intentions of the parties during the negotiations. Asked after a study by The Age and Herald that more than 60% of workers at a Melbourne Woolworths supermarket were paid premium rates, Ms Penfold said they were unable to answer that question. Penfold said they did not conduct an analysis to compare their approval to the sentence, which drew some senators at the time incredulously. „Our retail agreements are designed to reflect the terms of the general retail premium, including all annual salary increases, penalties and indemnities,“ she said. However, it argued that its agreement was unclear whether it would have to pay the increases at the time it took effect for the retail premium, which was postponed to February 1 of this year due to the COVID-19 crisis. The supermarket agreement states that the wage increases in the first wage package will come into force on or after July 1 and that the increase „should be the amount of the percentage increase ordered in the Fair Labor Commission`s annual wage decision with effect from July.“ Analysis by the retail and fast food union shows that woolworths, as part of its submission to the Fair Work Commission in 2012, changed the lists it used from those in the previous agreement in 2009. If they had stuck to the 2009 lists, nine of the 15 workers in Woolworth`s own examples would have been underpaid. Enterprise contracts are built on and/or differ from Modern Awards` minimum terms and conditions. Modern awards are a safety net of minimum conditions for an entire industry or job, for example, the General Retail Industry Award 2010 applies to retail. If a workplace has a company agreement, the modern price does not apply.

Company agreements and bonuses apply in conjunction with National Employment Standards (the „NES“). The NES applies to all employees (except employees of state government and local councils) and they cannot be replaced by an arbitration award or agreement. To get an agreement approved, employers must submit to the Fair Work Board tentative lists that show the hours people work and compare premium rates with what they would receive under the agreement. The employer and the union also sign a legal declaration. „The variations we seek through the FWC will clarify the intent of the respective parties during the negotiations and subsequent development of these agreements.