Highlights from the ERA's Annual Report for 2023

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has released its Annual Report for 2023, providing a detailed analysis of the trends and outcomes in employment disputes over the past year.  We have taken a look at the report for information of interest and here is a summary of what we have picked out to share.

Applications to the ERA

The Authority received 2,117 applications in 2023 which is about the same level as 2021.  Around two-thirds were forwarded to the Employment Mediation Service.  The Employment Authority issued 780 determinations across the year.  411 related to hearings.  The total number of determinations was 291 more than 2021 suggesting that less cases were able to be resolved at mediation than previously.

Reasons for Applications

The most common disputes received were personal grievances that mostly involved claims of unjustified/constructive dismissal and disadvantage.  These were followed by claims for arrears, legislative violations and breaches of good faith.   

Compensation awards

In 2023, 195 cases were awarded compensation for successful personal grievances.  Those awards ranged from $500 to $55,000.  The majority of compensation awards were between $5,000 - $20,000.  These figures exclude extra costs for penalties, awards for unpaid wages and costs and representation costs.  


These are applied in cases where breaches of employment legislation are found.  They ranged from $100 for a breach of the terms of a record of settlement to $153,000 in a case that involved multiple breaches of minimum employment standards.  Failure to keep time and wage records and issues with holiday and leave entitlements and payments were amongst the common reasons for penalties having been applied.

Challenges in the Employment Court

The last 3 years has consistently seen 17% of cases progress to the Employment Court which means they are receiving more cases year on year.

Whilst not many cases make it to Mediation or the Authority in the context of our working population, what is clear is that when they do, they can be costly. For these reasons and more, our approach continues to be for prevention and looking for proactive steps that support legislative compliance, positive employment relationships and early resolution if issues do arise.  If its time to look at the strength of your people practices and/or compliance with employment legislation so that you continue to have strong foundations, contact a member of the Grow HR team.