Registering as a union

Things you should know before you register

Under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA), any group of employees can set up and register as a union. To do this, the group must first become an incorporated society – under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 (ISA) – and then register as a union under the ERA.

To achieve both these things, the union must:

  • have at least 15 members (ISA)
  • be independent of employers (ERA)
  • have a set of union rules that comply with both the ISA and the ERA.

Before applying to incorporate as an incorporated society and register as a union, please ensure that you —

  1. Understand the requirements of the ISA, and have read the information on our Incorporated Societies Register website about starting an incorporated society.
  2. Understand the union registration provisions in the ERA, and have read the information on this website about what the Act requires.
  3. Read the information on this website about how to create a set of union rules.

A guide to creating union rules

Rules for unions must comply with both the ISA and the ERA.

Becoming an incorporated society

For information about becoming an incorporated society please refer to the information on the Incorporated Societies Register website.

Registering a society as a union

Once registered as an incorporated society you can then apply to register as a union.