Guide to Working in New Zealand


Employees have the right to decide whether to join a union and, if so, which union. It is illegal for an employer (or anyone else) to put unreasonable pressure on a employee to join or not join a union.

Once employees have joined a union, employers must, if asked, enter into bargaining for a collective agreement with that union. Union members can attend two union meetings (no longer than two hours each) per calendar year on pay and during normal working hours. They can require employers to deduct union fees from their wages and pay these to the union. Some members may be entitled to paid leave to attend employment relations education courses. Unions must gain an employer’s consent to visit a workplace. The employer can’t unreasonably withhold consent. See the Ministry’s website for more information on unions and collective bargaining, including strikes and lockouts.