Employee bargaining side – specific requirements

The employee bargaining side has specific requirements when meeting with employees in workplaces and using contact details.

This page is part of a series of pages with information for bargaining parties in the Fair Pay Agreement system:

Information for bargaining parties

Detailed information for bargaining parties can be found in the guide below:

The Fair Pay Agreements System: A Guide for Participants [PDF 2.1MB]

The Fair Pay Agreements system brings together unions and employer associations (the bargaining sides) to bargain for employment terms for all covered employees in an industry or occupation. This means that these organisations will meet to discuss and agree on a set of employment terms for the work being done within an industry or occupation.

Overview of Fair Pay Agreements

Use of employee contact details

After bargaining has been initiated, employers are required to send the initiating union an electronic list of the contact details of all of their covered employees (unless the employee has opted out of having their contact details shared). These contact details may be shared with other unions that are an employee bargaining party for the same proposed Fair Pay Agreement, if done in line with the Fair Pay Agreements Act 2022 and the Privacy Act 2020.

This list can only be used to communicate about the proposed Fair Pay Agreement and any communication using the list must include details about how the employee can stop receiving (opt out of) communications from the union if they wish to do so.

The information can include details about where they may find out how to join the union but this can only be supplementary to the main purpose of communicating about a relevant proposed or existing Fair Pay Agreement.

Storage of employee contact details

Employee contact details must be stored separately from other information held by the union and access to the contact details must be limited to only those employees who need it to communicate about the Fair Pay Agreement or for another purpose provided for in the Act.

Any personal information that is given to a bargaining side must only be used for the proposed Fair Pay Agreement and its use and storage must also be compliant with the Privacy Act 2020.

Meeting with employees and accessing workplaces

Fair Pay Agreement meetings with employees  

Once bargaining has been approved for a proposed Fair Pay Agreement and bargaining sides are formed, representatives from the employee bargaining side may want to meet with employees that are within coverage of the proposed Fair Pay Agreement. These meetings must relate to the proposed agreement. 

An employee bargaining party for a proposed agreement may arrange meetings with covered employees only after both bargaining sides have been formed and only if it has received approval from the employee bargaining side to hold the meeting on behalf of the employee bargaining side.

Employees covered by the proposed agreement are entitled to attend these meetings even if they don’t belong to the union that arranges the meeting.

For a proposed Fair Pay Agreement, an employee bargaining party can arrange up to two paid meetings with employees, no longer than two hours each. An additional paid meeting, of no longer than two hours, can be arranged if the first ratification fails. 

The employee bargaining side must: 

  • give affected employers at least 14 days’ notice of these meetings and specify the date and time
  • make arrangements with each employer to ensure their business operation can continue during the meeting
  • supply the employer with a list of which of their employees attended the meeting and 
  • advise the employer of the duration of the meeting.

The employer must pay covered employees who attend the meeting their ordinary pay, if the employee would otherwise be working for the employer during the meeting.

An employer can deny a bargaining party representative access to their workplace if:

  • they hold a certificate of exemption on the grounds that they are a practicing member of a religious society or order, and their beliefs preclude membership of anyone outside that religious society or order and
  • none of their employees are a member of a union and
  • they have 20 or fewer employees.

Access to workplaces for employee bargaining parties 

In addition to access for Fair Pay Agreement meetings, an employee bargaining party representative can enter a workplace without the employer’s consent to discuss bargaining for a proposed Fair Pay Agreement with a covered employee. These discussions can relate to progress in bargaining for the proposed agreement or seeking feedback from covered employees about any aspect of the proposed agreement.

Employee bargaining party representatives can only enter a workplace at reasonable times. They must be mindful not to get in the way of normal business operations and follow any requirements for safety, health, and security.

If the employee bargaining party representative is unable to find the employer or other person in control of the workplace, they must leave a statement of their identity, the employee bargaining party they represent, the date and time of entry and the purposes of entry. 

Employers can’t deduct payment from employee’s wages for the period of the discussion.

More information

Duties for bargaining sides

Support during bargaining

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Page last revised: 01 December 2022

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