Employment Relations Education Leave
PSA members can be eligible for paid employment relations education leave (EREL) to attend approved courses.
Courses are approved by the Department of Labour. The PSA’s delegate development programme has such approval.
Paid employment relations education is included in the Employment Relations Act to improve relationships between unions, employees and employers by increasing understanding of employment relationships.
What it means
Delegates receive their usual daily pay from their employer when they attend a course approved for EREL.
How delegates access EREL
The PSA’s delegate development team actions all applications for paid employment relations education leave.
The process is:
- Delegate applies to to the PSA attend a workshop
- The PSA writes to the delegate to confirm registration for the workshop
- Delegate completes the EREL apllication granted section of the letter and gives to manager
- The EREL request is granted (or not) by the employer
- Delegate notifies the PSA
- The PSA sends the delegate a reminder about the workshop
- The delegate attends the workshop on paid leave (remembering to take a copy of the current collective agreement & delegate handbook).
How EREL is allocated
Unions calculate the maximum number of EREL days for each employer each year. This is based on the number of “eligible employees” – union members – in the organisation.
In the first week of March, the PSA sends each employer a letter specifying the allocation for the year.
Union members cannot take more than 5 days paid employment relations education leave a year, unless the union has a specific agreement with the employer that allows for more than this. The five days can only be utilised if there are enough allocated to the employing organisation (an organisation with fewer than six union members only has a maximum of three EREL days a year).
The EREL year is from 1 March to 28 February. EREL does not accumulate from year to year.
The Employment Relations Act 2000 (part 7, section 74) specifies how EREL is calculated. The Act says:
Calculation of maximum number of days employment relations education leave
(1) The maximum number of days of employment relations education leave that a union is entitled to allocate in respect of an employer is based on the number of full-time equivalent eligible employee employed by the employer as at the specified date in a year, and is determined in accordance with the following table:
Full-time equivalent eligible employees as at the specified date in a year
Maximum number of days of employment relations education leave that union entitled to allocate
1 – 5
6 - 50
51 - 280
1 day for every 8 full-time equivalent eligible employees or part of that number
281 or more
35 days plus 5 days for every 100 full-time equivalent eligible employees or part of that number that exceeds 280
For the purposes of calculating the number of full-time equivalent eligible employees employed by an employer,
(a) an eligible employee who normally works 30 hours or more during a week is to be counted as 1:
(b) an eligible employee who normally works less than 30 hours during a week is to be counted as one-half.