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Union 101

What is Employment Relations Education Leave (EREL)?

04 Oct 2022
3 min reading

Employment Relations Education Leave (EREL) is paid leave that aims to improve the relationship between employees and their employers. It enables members to take part in union education that gives them a better understanding of employment relations.

Who is an employer for the purposes of ERE leave?

  • Each school is counted as a separate employer.
  • Each kindergarten association is counted as one employer.
  • Each childcare centre is counted as one employer unless an employer manages more than one centre, in which case all the centres for that employer count as one.

Who pays the wages of people attending EREL courses?

Employers pay the wage costs associated with ERE leave, but are not responsible for covering course costs, travel or other incidentals. We appreciate there is a cost to the employer for this leave and we realise funding in the education sector is always tight. For most employers (those with between 6 and 50 full time equivalent members) the total number of days’ leave is 5. Note that this is 5 days in total, not per employee. In many cases not all 5 days will be used.

What kind of courses are they?

The courses that NZEI Te Riu Roa will be offering are for worksite representatives, members’ support teams, principals and staff in primary and area schools, managers and staff in childcare centres and kindergartens and identified leaders.

They have been approved by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment as educationally sound and meeting the objects of the Employment Relations Act.

The aim of employment relations education is to increase skills and knowledge of employment matters to improve relationships in the workplace.

The main object of the Act is to build productive employment relationships through the promotion of mutual trust and confidence. In this context the aim of employment relations education is to increase skills and knowledge of employment matters to improve relationships in the workplace.

How is the request made to attend an EREL course?

NZEI Te Riu Roa sends an invitation to the member attending the course. They have a responsibility to talk to their employer about attending the course and to inform the employer the course is covered by EREL.

Who will be going on EREL courses?

Any employee who is a member of NZEI Te Riu Roa. We will generally invite key eligible members to attend EREL courses, such as worksite representatives. The actual number of days taken will depend on your staff’s involvement in the union and on course places available. You will be notified as soon as possible of any request for employment relations education leave for eligible union members in your workplace.

Can the employer refuse to grant leave?

Usually no, not unless it can be shown that attendance would unreasonably disrupt business.

Who will benefit from EREL?

NZEI Te Riu Roa believes this training will benefit employers as well as the employees who attend, as much of their programme is aimed at assisting senior staff (e.g. principals, supervisors and head teachers) with their responsibilities in their “employer” roles.

Other training and resources ensure that there is sufficient knowledge in the workplace to maintain good employment relationships.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about EREL, please call our Member Support Centre on 0800 693 443.