Employment Relations Education Leave
Purpose of Employment Relations Education (ERE) Leave
Eligible employees can take paid employment relations education leave (ERE leave) to undertake approved courses in employment relations education if their union allocates ERE leave to them.
The education is aimed at improving relationships between unions, employees and employers by increasing understanding of employment relations, especially the duty of good faith.
ERE leave can only be used for education of a type that is approved by the Minister of Labour.
Entitlement to ERE leave
The leave entitlement is available to union members.
Union to calculate leave entitlement
Unions calculate the aggregate leave entitlement for the group of eligible employees as at the 30th day before the specified date each year. That specified date is 1 March unless the employer and the union agree to another date.
The same entitlement continues to apply throughout the leave year (i.e. for the next 12 months) even if the number of eligible employees changes.
Union to notify employer
The union must give the employer a notice, within a month of the specified date, stating:
- the maximum number of days of ERE leave available to the group of eligible employees, and
- how the calculation was done.
Union to allocate entitlement to eligible employees
The union decides which of the eligible employees can take ERE leave. It must write to these employees to tell them how many days they can take and the conditions for taking the leave, and send a copy to the employer. The conditions are:
- the employee must take the leave by the end of the leave year
- the leave is paid by the employer at the employee's relevant daily pay rate (as defined in section 9 of the Holidays Act 2003)
- the employee must give the employer at least 14 days' notice of the leave they are to take and what course they are to attend
- the employer can refuse to grant leave for particular days if it can be reasonably shown that leave on those days will unreasonably disrupt the employer's business.
There are special arrangements for allocating leave in multi-employer agreements. Email the Executive Officer ERE or phone (04) 915 4512 or fax (04) 915 4710.
Conditions of leave entitlement
The Employment Relations Act 2000 sets out a method for unions to calculate the total ERE leave entitlement per employer. This method must be used unless another method is specified in the collective agreement.
The calculation is based on full-time equivalent eligible employees. For the purposes of the calculation, each eligible employee who normally works 30 or more hours per week is counted as one full-time equivalent, and each eligible employee who works less than 30 hours a week is counted as a half.
The formula for calculating the entitlement for a particular group of eligible employees is as follows:
|Full-time equivalent eligible employees as at the 30th day before the specified date in 2001 and subsequent years||Maximum number of days of employment relations education leave the union is entitled to allocate|
|51-280||1 day for every 8 full-time equivalent employees or part of that number|
|281 or more||35 days plus 5 days for every 100 full-time equivalent employees or part of that number that exceeds 280|
ERE Contestable Fund
A contestable fund has been established to provide funding for the development and running of ERE courses. The fund is advertised so that time will be allowed for applications to be developed and formulated before the closing date.
Guidelines for applicants are available.
Information on ERE course approval
You are now invited to apply for approval of Employment Relations Education courses.
Entitlement to Employment Relations Education Leave under the Employment Relations Act 2000 can be exercised only in respect of approved Employment Relations Education courses.
All applications must meet criteria showing that the course covers topics consistent with the Act and must meet quality assurance criteria.
Applications will be accepted at any time.