Who can apply

Employers, employees and unions can apply to the Authority for help with employment problems they have been unable to resolve directly or through mediation.

The kinds of problems you can bring to the Authority include:

  • personal grievances, including unjustified dismissal
  • unpaid wages
  • disputes about meeting the terms of an employment agreement
  • failure to supply an employment agreement
  • issues with parental leave or equal pay
  • disputes about union rules or membership.

Employment Relations Act: Jurisdiction – legislation.govt.nz(external link)

You can be represented in the Employment Relations Authority by any person or organisation you choose. You can also choose to represent yourself.

Representatives, help and advice

When you can apply

You must raise a personal grievance with your employer within 90 days from the date the personal grievance arose or first came to your attention (whichever is the later), except for cases of sexual harassment which must be raised within 12 months.

If you are unable to resolve the problem with your employer or through mediation, you then have 3 years from the date you raised the personal grievance with your employer to lodge the matter with us.

We cannot investigate a personal grievance claim that is lodged with us more than 3 years after it was raised with an employer.

If you believe your employer has acted in an unfair or unreasonable manner, you can also make a personal grievance claim directly with the Authority within 90 days (or 12 months for a sexual harassment grievance) without discussing it with your employer or going to mediation – although we may then direct you to mediation as a first step.

Personal grievances – Employment New Zealand(external link)

  • If you did not raise a personal grievance with your employer within the time limit

    You can ask your employer if they will let you raise the personal grievance even though you are over the time limit (90 days, or 12 months for a sexual harassment grievance).

    If your employer will not let you raise the personal grievance, you can apply to the Authority for permission to raise the personal grievance out of time.

    We may grant you permission if we:

    • are satisfied that the delay was due to exceptional circumstances, and
    • consider it just to give you more time to raise your grievance.
  • If your employer is no longer in business

    If the company is struck off the Companies Register

    We cannot continue to investigate a claim against a company if the company has been struck off the Companies Register – this is because the company no longer exists in a legal sense.

    If you have evidence that a company may be about to be struck off the Companies Register, let the Authority Officer know as soon as possible – your case may be able to be made urgent.

    If the company goes into liquidation

    If your employer goes into or is in liquidation, you will need to write to the liquidator seeking leave to commence or continue your action against the company. You can also apply to the High Court for leave.

    We cannot take any action on your case until we have consent from the liquidator or leave is granted by the High Court.