Employment Relations Education leave

Employment Relations Education (ERE) leave is paid leave union members can take to attend approved courses in employment relations. Unions calculate and allocate ERE leave entitlements.

Employment Relations Education (ERE) is aimed at improving relationships between unions, employees, and employers. It allows specific education to increase understanding of employment relations, especially the duty of good faith. Only approved courses can be used for ERE leave purposes. Applications for course approval can be made throughout the year, by any individual, group or organisation that wishes to provide ERE.

Employment Relations Education: courses and criteria

Quick facts about ERE

  • Unions allocate ERE leave to union members that qualify as per the Employment Relations Act 2000.
  • ERE leave can only be used for courses that have been approved by the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.
  • Unions calculate the ERE leave entitlement for each employer and advise them.
  • ERE courses are considered for approval/re-approval by the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.
  • Unions may apply to use a course that has already been approved by another union.
  • ERE courses will expire on the date shown on our website for each course.
  • Unions can apply for reapproval of an existing course up to 3 months before the course is due to expire.

Criteria used to assess employment relations education course approval.

Calculating the ERE leave entitlement

  • Unions must calculate ERE leave using the method described in Section 74 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 unless another method is specified in a relevant collective employment agreement.
  • The total ERE leave entitlement for an employer is calculated by unions based on the 30th day before a specified date each year. The default specified date is 1 March but can be changed on agreement by both the union and the employer.
  • The calculated entitlement remains unchanged for the year regardless of whether the number of eligible employees changes.
  • Unions must provide a calculation of the ERE leave days showing the entitlement available no later than one month of the specified date commencing each year. 1/12th of the entitlement is forfeited for each month the union does not comply with the requirement.

The default method of calculating leave uses the calculation of one full time equivalent (FTE) for employees working more than 30 hours per week on average and ½ an FTE for those working less on average.

The table below should be used to calculate the total ERE leave entitlement for each employer:

Number of FTEs Maximum ERE days for allocation each year
 1 - 5  3
 6 - 50  5
 51 - 280 1 day for every 8 FTEs or part thereof
 281 or more 35 days, plus 5 days for every 100 FTEs or part thereover over 280

Taking ERE leave

Unions decide which union members take ERE leave and advise them of their entitlements and how to notify their employer.

The employer can refuse to grant leave for particular days if leave on those days will unreasonably disrupt the employer’s business. ERE leave is paid by the employer in the usual manner of regular pay.

Unions must notify employers of ERE leave to be taken by employees no later than 14 days before the start of the course. The dates and subject of the course must be provided to the employer. For the purpose of calculation, the days between 25 December and 5 January do not count towards the 14 days.

Registering a new course or renewing an expiring course

For information on registering a new course, or renewing an expiring course, please email ERE@mbie.govt.nz for an application form.

Quality assurance and course criteria apply to all courses.

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