About us

Find out about the services the Ministry offers under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and related legislation.

Our vision, purpose and outcomes

We are known externally as Employment New Zealand, Employment Mediation Services and the Labour Inspectorate. The Employment Relations Act 2000 and several other Acts of Parliament establish our regulatory functions under the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Regulatory strategy for MBIE's employment relations services 2023 – 2028 [PDF, 4.7 MB]

Read more about the employment services we deliver annually

Employment Service - Year at a Glance (2022/2023) [PDF, 154 KB]

Employment Service - Year at a Glance (2021/2022) [PDF, 151 KB]

Employment Service - Year at a Glance (2020/2021) [PDF, 342 KB]

Employment Service - Year at a Glance (2019/2020) [PDF, 419 KB]

Employment Service - Year at a Glance (2018/2019) [PDF, 420 KB]

Employment Service - Year at a Glance (2017/2018) [PDF, 386 KB]

Transparency statement

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) transparency statement describes the kind of information MBIE gathers to ensure it can effectively:

  • protect people, information, and places
  • ensure regulatory compliance, and
  • detect and prevent criminal offending

Transparency statement - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment(external link)

Early Resolution Services

The Early Resolution Service within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is a free phone-based service for employees and employers providing assistance to resolve a workplace issue early, quickly, and informally, before it becomes too serious or needs a more formal process.

Early resolution involves clarifying employment issues, engaging with the parties and providing tailored information on the legislation. With the encouragement and assistance of Labour Standards Officers, many complaints can be resolved by the parties themselves.

Where resolution is not achieved, parties are advised of their options, for example, mediation or seeking the assistance of the Employment Relations Authority.

Early resolution

Employment Mediation Services

This website provides guidance on dealing with employment relationship issues. If you have a problem that you’re unable to solve together, Employment Mediation Services can arrange a mediation to help you to sort it out.


Labour Inspectorate

This website provides information on minimum employment standards. The Labour Inspectorate ensures that minimum employment standards are met in the workplace.


Labour Inspectors investigate complaints and use targeted investigations and operations to uncover breaches of employment standards.

Which matters are investigated is determined by the nature and severity of potential breaches, and apparent evidence and circumstances, balanced with resourcing and specific Labour Inspectorate focus at the time.

Labour Inspectors have powers that enable them to carry out their investigation and enforcement role. These include the powers to:

  • enter a workplace (or what is thought to be a workplace) at any reasonable hour and bring others with them (including the police)
  • interview anyone at the workplace including the employer and employees
  • see and take copies of wages and time records, holiday and leave records, other documents with remuneration information, or any other document that the Labour Inspector reasonably believes will help them determine whether the relevant Acts have been complied with. Employers have to make these available right away and if they do not, the Labour Inspector can bring an action against them for a penalty
  • see and take copies of strikes and lockouts information
  • require the employer to provide copies of wages and time records, holiday and leave records and employment agreements
  • question employers about compliance with any of the specified employment-related laws. Employers do not have to answer questions from a Labour Inspector if it is something that might incriminate them in a criminal matter. Otherwise, they are required to answer.

Sometimes determining if there has been a breach of employment standards involves forming an opinion on the employment status of employers. Labour Inspectors also have powers that enable them to investigate whether an employee is performing work as an employee or not. 

If a Labour Inspector sees or gets a copy of a document from an employer, they have to keep the information safe and cannot disclose it unless it’s for the purposes of a specified employment-related Act or to share it with a regulatory agency in accordance with the Privacy Act 2000. 

Labour Inspectors carry warrants. If someone comes to a workplace and says they are a Labour Inspector but the employer is not sure that this is true, the employer should ask to see their warrant. 

If a Labour Inspector comes to a workplace and the employer is not present, the Inspector can still continue with their visit but they must leave a notice for the employer.


Inspectors can take various forms of enforcement action when breaches of employment standards are detected. These include:

  • entering into an enforceable undertaking to underpin an employer’s steps to correct a breach
  • issuing an improvement notice requiring an employer to take steps to correct a breach
  • issuing an infringement notice requiring the payment of fees for breaches of record-keeping obligations or failure to supply copies of records to an Inspector when requested
  • taking a case to the Employment Relations Authority to seek an order for:
    • penalties (of up to $10,000 against an individual or $20,000 for companies)
    • arrears of wages
    • compliance with the law (or an enforceable undertaking or improvement notice)
  • taking action to the Employment Court for serious breaches of minimum entitlement provisions, seeking the order of:
    • a declaration that a breach was serious
    • penalties of up to $50,000 against an individual, or the greater of $100,000 or 3 times the financial gain, for companies
    • a compensation order to pay employees who have suffered loss or damage (such as lost wages)
    • a banning order preventing a person or entity from acting as an employer for up to 10 years
    • costs
  • taking actions to the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court against persons involved in breaches of employment standards (as well as the employers who performed the breaches), and seeking the order of sanctions against those persons.

Labour Standard Officers

Early resolution

Complaints about breaches of employment standards that do not meet the threshold for investigation are responded to by Labour Standards Officers. Labour Standards Officers are a specialist team within the Inspectorate called the Labour Standards Team. Labour Standards Officers provide early resolution services. 

Compliance checks

Labour Standards Officers also do compliance checks of fundamental record-keeping requirements under employment law. This work involves contacting employers and requesting sample copies of employment records and employment agreements and then reviewing them against the requirements. Where breaches are identified, employers are expected to correct these, and infringement notices can be issued.

Paid parental leave

Another role of the Labour Standards Team is to review the entitlement to paid parental leave when questions are raised through the application process operated by Inland Revenue.

Parental leave payments

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