How many meetings can a union member go to in one year?
Union members are entitled to attend at least two union meetings (of up to two hours each) each year. Employers have to pay those union members who attend the meeting during their normal working hours. However, the employer does not have to pay union members who would not normally be working at the time the meeting is held (i.e. employees who are on a day off or off shift).
If an employment agreement provides more generous entitlements to attend union meetings (e.g. duration up to fours hours each), then the employee will have the benefit of the provisions of the employment agreement.
The union concerned also have responsibilities that are as follows:
The union and employer should act in good faith to agree upon a time for the meeting that best suits both parties taking into account the employers operational requirements. The union must give the employer at least 14 days' notice of the date and time of any union meeting.
The union must supply to the employer a list of members who attended the union meeting as well as advise the employer of the length of the meeting.
The union must make arrangements with the employer to ensure that the employer's business is maintained during any union meeting.
Work must resume as soon as practicable after the meeting, but the employer does not have to pay any union member for a period longer than 2 hours in respect of any meeting.
The recent amendments to the Employment Relations Act recognise that discussions between union representatives and employees are not the same as formal paid union meetings. Such discussions must be of a reasonable length and do not reduce the entitlement to paid union meetings. Employees have a right to be paid for the time spent in these discussions.
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Date Modified: Thursday, 31 May 2012
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