Employing and managing staff

90-Day Trial Periods

From 1 April 2011 all employers have the option of employing new staff on an initial trial basis. 

  • Employers must have 19 or less employees at the time of hiring
  • Trial periods do not apply to people already employed by an employer or when an employer rehires a former employee.
  • The employer and employee must negotiate in good faith whether to have a trial period, the length of the trial period and whether to specify the notice period
  • The trial period cannot extend more than 90 calendar days
  • Where an employer terminates employment they must give notice where this has been negotiated and included in the employment agreement
  • If an employee is let go during the trial period (and any notice period is honoured) they cannot take a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal
  • Employees may still take a personal grievance on grounds other than unjustified dismissal (i.e. discrimination, harassment etc)
  • Both parties still have the option of mediation during the trial period
  • The trial period counts towards the employee’s length of service with the employer
  • Employers must be clear with their employees as to whether they are offering a trial period (s67A & B of the ERA 2000) or a probationary period (s67).  Copies of the Act can be downloaded for free from www.legislation.govt.nz  
  • From 1 March 2009 it is important that employers check employment agreements before giving notice to terminate during a trial period to ensure their action is legal
  • To avoid problems, employers are recommended to seek advice before offering a trial period.

Employment contracts

Please use the Department of Labour agreement builder

Employer Superannuation Contribution Tax Update

Presbyterian Church Beneficiary Fund - a new ESCT rate may apply from 1 April 2018

Flexible working arrangements

We know that many employers already offer their staff flexible work. But for some employees and managers the prospect of discussing flexible work without a clear process can be daunting; more information is available from the Department of Labour.

For more information please contact Margaret Fawcett.