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

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.

Back to top ^