About The Employment Relations Authority

The Authority

The Employment Relations Authority resolves employment relationship problems that cannot be solved through mediation. It is an independent body set up under the Employment Relations Act 2000.

Authority Members

A member of the Employment Relations Authority will investigate your case. Members are independent.  Members will only speak to parties if both sides are present, such as at the case management conference or investigation meeting.  For information about the arrangements for dealing with your case, talk to a support officer. 

Current Authority Members are listed here.

How it works

If you have an employment relations problem, you can bring the matter to the Employment Relations Authority.  In most cases the Authority will not investigate your problem until you have attended mediation.

The Authority looks into the facts of a case and makes decisions based on the merits of the matter, not on technicalities.

When you lodge an application with the Authority, it will seek a response from the other party and arrange a timetable for the Authority’s investigation. A case management conference will be set up to identify what the issues are. This is usually done by phone. The Authority may also ask for more information.

An investigation meeting is then held with all of the parties and a member of the Authority. This is where the issues get discussed and investigated. Witnesses usually attend the meeting to answer questions.  You may also choose to have a representative come to the meeting with you.  Members of the public may attend unless specifically excluded by an Authority member.

After this meeting the Employment Relations Authority member who presides over the investigation will consider the evidence and issue a decision in writing, called a determination. The determination is legally binding and is a public document that will be published on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's website database. Anyone can access the determination document and discover the outcome of the investigation, including the names of the parties and any remedies awarded.

At any stage in the process the parties can ask the Authority to make a recommendation on how the problem might be resolved. This request must be in writing. If accepted by the parties the recommendation becomes final and binding.

How long it takes

It can take a few weeks or a few months for an application to be processed, heard, and determined by a member. The length of the process will depend on factors such as urgency of the application, whether parties have tried to resolve their problem at mediation, the availability of parties, representatives and the complexity of the case.   

Authority Offices

The Authority has offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.  Its members may travel to other places where a problem has arisen to investigate cases.

Authority offices are staffed by support officers who process your application and provide administrative support to Authority members.  

Support Officers

The role of the support officer is to:

  • process your application
  • provide guidance on how to lodge an application with the Authority
  • explain the process once the application has been lodged
  • be a point of contact for your application.  

The support officer can not:

  • complete application forms on your behalf
  • provide legal advice
  • tell you if your case is likely to be successful
  • explain your employment rights, responsibilities or obligations.

For more detail on taking a matter to the Authority read the Steps in the Authority process

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