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90 Day Trial Changes Coming...plus more...

Updated: Sep 26, 2018

What are the changes?

In January 2018, the government announced changes to the 90-day trial period legislation.  These changes mean that businesses that employ 20 (or more) employees are not able to rely on the trial period legislation. Small businesses (fewer than 20 employees) are not affected by the change.

Have these changes come into effect?

No, the changes to the 90-day trial period have NOT come into effect.  Therefore, you can still continue to sign up new staff with the 90-day trial period.

As the draft law currently stands, larger employers can (if they want) keep putting trial clauses in new agreements for a further four months after the Governor General signs the amending legislation into law. Those trial clauses will still offer protection if the employer later dismisses during the 90 days, even if that dismissal occurs after the four-month period has ended. That means that even if you sign someone up today and next week they pass the bill, you can still use the 90-day trial period.

What do you need to do if you employ 20 employees or more..

We suggest that you seek advice, get your employment agreements reviewed to ensure they remain compliant with the law. Depending on the final wording of the legislation, we recommend that employers that hire 19 or more staff, introduce a probationary period clause, if they wish to be able to have some ability to dismiss employees in the initial stages of employment. 

Probationary periods won't protect you from a personal grievance, however, it does allow you to fast-track the warning process. During the probationary period the employer must follow a fair process, telling the employee if there are any issues and giving the employee the opportunity to improve.

Other changes coming that we will blog on further are:

- Restoring statutory rest and meal breaks

- Strengthening collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace

- Restoring reinstatement as the primary remedy to unfair dismissal

- Increasing protections when a business is restructured for vulnerable workers i.e. cleaners, caterers

If you want to know more or discuss any of these changes, please give Lisa a call or email lisa@opt4.co.nz

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