Support during bargaining

MBIE offers a range of services to support bargaining participants during bargaining.


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

Funding for bargaining sides

After a bargaining side has agreed its inter-party side agreement and submitted it to MBIE, they become eligible to apply for grants of between $50,000 and $59,375 to each eligible bargaining side. This is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, until total funding runs out.

This funding is made available to go towards building bargaining capability and capacity to support bargaining for a proposed Fair Pay Agreement. This funding cannot be used to fund representation of the public sector.

The Fair Pay Agreements System: A guide for participants [PDF 2.1MB] (external link)

A further $25,000 grant is available to a bargaining side if less than 20% of those in coverage on their side are a member of a union or employer association.

To meet this requirement, the bargaining side must provide a statutory declaration that, to the best of their knowledge, fewer than 20% of the total employees or employers in coverage are members of either unions or employer associations, as relevant to the bargaining side.

MBIE will also undertake due diligence checks of eligibility if required.

How to apply

After MBIE has received an inter-party agreement from a bargaining side for a proposed FPA, MBIE will send an email to the lead advocate informing them of how to apply for the funding.

The lead advocate is appointed by the bargaining side to act as the bargaining side’s primary spokesperson and represents or chairs the bargaining side during negotiations.

MBIE will provide information to the lead advocate about the level of funding available and what information is required from the applicant to access it. This includes:

  • confirming the grants being applied for
  • completing a Supplier information form [PDF 342KB]
  • evidence of the bargaining side bank account details and a valid tax invoice
  • signing the MBIE funding agreement provided.

We will contact you when you become eligible, but you can also contact us later on to apply by emailing MBIE.

Email Fair Pay Agreements

Bargaining Support Services  

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will support the Fair Pay Agreement process and have bargaining support services and mediation services available to assist parties throughout the process.

Bargaining support services can support different bargaining participants including: 

  • a union
  • an employer association
  • a bargaining party
  • a bargaining side.

Bargaining support services available may include: 

  • assisting the initiating party to define coverage
  • helping unions and employer associations to understand the requirements to become a bargaining party
  • helping bargaining sides to understand the bargaining process
  • assisting with interparty side agreements and bargaining process agreements
  • supporting bargaining sides throughout the bargaining process
  • supporting bargaining sides to make sure bargaining is constructive and efficient
  • assisting bargaining sides to understand the content requirements of a proposed agreement or a variation
  • assisting resolving conflict within or between bargaining sides.

How to request Bargaining Support Services

You can apply for Bargaining Support Services by emailing: CapabilityandEarlyResolution@mbie.govt.nz

Please let the service know what organisation you are with and include a brief description of what support you need from the service.  

Mediation Services

Mediation Services can help parties in the Fair Pay Agreement process resolve problems such as disputes and impasse. This includes resolving issues, between bargaining parties and between bargaining sides, to help make sure the process runs smoothly.

How to request mediation  

You can apply for mediation by making a request for mediation services through Employment Mediation Services online. Accessing this service using the online portal will take you to a RealMe login page.

Requesting mediation  

If you have any problems completing your application, you can contact us on 0800 20 90 20.

Employment Relations Authority

In some situations, the Employment Relations Authority (the Authority) can make determinations and compliance orders.

If bargaining sides are unable to reach agreement on the terms of a proposed Fair Pay Agreement they can apply to the Authority for a non-binding recommendation.

In certain circumstances, such as if an employer bargaining side is not formed, bargaining sides have exhausted all reasonable alternatives for reaching agreement, or where there have been two failed ratification votes, a bargaining side can apply to the Authority to fix the terms of a proposed agreement.

Employment Relations Authority website (external link)

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Page last revised: 01 December 2022

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