Labour has indicated that it will prohibit the 90 day trial period for employers with more than 19 employees, but that means around 97% of local businesses will still be able to use it. How does that work out? Well the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand suggests that 97% of all enterprises are counted as small businesses, even though they employ only 29% of all employees in the country. So what does that mean for you personally?

For Small Business Owners

If you manage a small business, you can still utilise the 90 day trial period. This means you can hire someone and if they don’t prove to be suitable for the job, you can let them go within 90 days and the employee won’t be able bring a personal grievance in respect of the dismissal. If you are a small business please get in touch to discuss how to correctly implement a 90 day trial period.

For Large Business Owners

If you’re one of the 3% of New Zealander businesses classified as a large business (20 employees or more) then the 90 day trial period no longer applies to your workplace. However, you will still be able to access ‘probationary’ periods, which means that in some circumstances employees can be dismissed at the end of a chosen period given you have a fair reason for doing so and inform the employee of this. If you are considering using a probationary period, please get in touch to discuss how to go about this.

For Employees

If you’ve just started working at a small business, be aware that the employer can dismiss you within 90 days and you may not be able to bring a personal grievance in respect of the dismissal. If you’re working at a larger business, then be aware of the probationary periods and talk to your employer about the timeframe of these periods. All employees can and should ask their employer for clarification if something is unclear. For example, if you’re not exactly sure what is expected from you in the workplace, asking for better guidance can help you work better and reduce the risk of being dismissed.

How We Can Help

At Bell & Co, we have employment lawyers who can help employers in businesses of all sizes. As we have noted previously in our blogs, trial periods have specific technical requirements and can be invalid if not utilised correctly. Please call our free employment helpline for a 10 minute chat about any employment relations, human resources, or health and safety matters. We can help you review employment documentation, create new documentation, and advocate for you. Our Wellington law firm offers high quality expertise in employment law, family law, dispute resolution and civil litigation. If you need a litigation lawyer or any other kind of lawyer, get in touch with us.