Maintaining a registered union

Keeping your union's information up to date with the Registrar of Unions and its ongoing responsibilites.

A registered union has obligations in how it is run and maintained, both under the Employment Relations Act (ERA) and the relevant Incorporated Societies Act (ISA).

Annual membership returns

Under the ERA, every union must advise the Registrar of Unions of the number of members it has, as at 1 March each year. This information must be provided by 1 June. We’ll send you a reminder notification the month before your annual membership return is due to be filed. There is no fee for filing your annual membership return.

After 1 June each year, we produce a union membership return report.

If membership falls below 15 members

The membership of an incorporated society should not fall below —

  • 15 members (for a society registered under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908) and
  • 10 members (for a society registered under the Incorporated Societies Act 2022).

We will check the union’s membership numbers each year and contact any unions that have dropped below this threshold.

Running an incorporated society and keeping its details up to date

For general information on running an incorporated society and keeping its details up to date on the register, please refer to the information on the Incorporated Societies Register website.

Annual financial statements and annual returns

Each year, every incorporated society must provide a copy of their annual financial statements to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies. 2022 Act societies must also complete an annual return at the same time. The timeframes for filings and requirements for what must be included vary depending on which Act your society is registered under.

Changes to union constitutions or rules

Your society’s constitution or rules must state how they can later be amended. Any changes only take effect once they’ve been registered with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies.

A union must ensure that any constitution or rule change complies not only with the relevant ISA, but also the ERA.

Contact details that must be kept up to date

Every society must have a registered office and record that address on the Incorporated Societies Register. You must also record any change in this address on the register. If your society is registered under the Incorporated Societies Act 2022 you must record the change on the register at least 5 working days before the change of registered office address is due to take effect.

You must also keep other contact details recorded on the register up to date, including —

  • Address for communications
  • Contact person details (2022 Act societies only)

Officer details

Under the 1908 Act it’s optional to record officer details on the Incorporated Societies Register. If officer details are recorded, you should keep them up to date.

Under the 2022 Act your society must record details of all officers on the register. Your society must make sure it registers the following updates within 20 working days of becoming aware of the change —

  • When a new officer is appointed or elected
  • When an officer ceases to act (for example, they resign or stand down at an Annual General Meeting)
  • When an officer’s contact details change (for example, if they’ve changed their address).