So how will Fair Pay Agreements happen? Minister of Workplace Relations Michael Wood released the draft law earlier this year. The legislation passed its first reading, and the second reading is due soon.
The process contains five key steps:
To start the process for an FPA, a union needs the agreement of 1000 employees in a sector (or 10% of all the employees in a sector – whichever is lower).
Alternatively, the union must demonstrate there is significant public interest in the initiation of the FPA. This marks the start of the Fair Pay Agreement process. It is worth noting that once an FPA initiation is approved, the process must result in an FPA.
Next all the employers in the sector are informed the process for an FPA has started.
Those employers will ask all their employees to agree to share contact information with the union(s) who started the FPA process. For those that agree, unions will contact them and seek their view on what they want to see in an FPA.
Unions will also invite employees to meetings to discuss the FPA.
All employers will come together to form a bargaining side. All employees, through their unions, will come together to form the other.
The law requires both sides to show how they are considering the interests of Māori. The two sides will negotiate what should be in the FPA. Some topics will be mandatory to agree and some that are only mandatory to discuss. The topics in each category are still being discussed.
Once the bargaining sides (employees and employers) have reached an agreement, everyone in the sector will vote on it. To pass, the FPA must get more than 50% support from both employers and employees. For employees it is one person one vote.
For employers, their votes are determined by the number of people they employ in the sector. If the FPA is passed by both sides – employers and employees – then it is a done deal. If it is not passed by either side, they go back to renegotiate. Then the FPA is voted on again.
If a Fair Pay Agreement doesn’t pass a second time, then it goes to determination.
In determination, it is the responsibility the Employment Relations Authority to decide what should be in the FPA.