The new Government has announced changes to the 90 day trial period provided for in the Employment Relations Act 2000.  For small businesses with fewer than 20 employees), you will still be able to include trial periods in their employment agreements. However, 70 per cent of New Zealand workers employed by larger employers and will no longer be subject to trial periods.  This change is likely to take effect within the next few months. 

As it stands, the law gives employers of all sizes the option of using trial periods and probationary periods to assess employees and make sure that they can do the job. 

Although used for similar reasons, trial and probationary periods have different requirements and effects.  Importantly, an employee cannot bring a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal at the end of a trial period, but they can bring a personal grievance in relation to a probationary period.  If you are a party to an employment contract, you need to understand the difference and the resulting implications for you.

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It can be confusing trying to keep up with law changes and making sure that legal requirements are met so that expensive disputes can be avoided.  In our experience, it pays to get advice early in the process before problems occur.

We strive to partner with businesses to ensure they are meeting and exceeding their employment obligations. Whether you’ve just started out or have been in business for years, we can assist you. Updates in employment law present an excellent opportunity for you to take a step back and review your employment standards and needs. For further information or to arrange an initial consultation, please get in touch with Caroline Rieger and our employment team today on 04 495 8908 or email caroline.rieger@morrisonkent.com.

Update

Read our recent article on the ‘new’ 90 Day Trial Periods.

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