A union representing a number of bookstore employees says there is a possibility staff at Whitcoulls, Borders and Bennetts may lose out on pay.
The book chains' Australian owner, REDgroup Retail, was put into voluntary administration last week.
New Zealand's National Distribution Union has met with administrators Ferrier Hodgson which says REDgroup employs about 1400 people.
The union says workers may not get wages or entitlements for the period from which they were last paid by REDgroup until the date the adminstrators took over.
Staff will be treated as priority creditors if this does happen, it says.