So we have a new Government. The National – ACT – New Zealand First coalition have promised several employment law changes. Two of the most significant are:
Repealing the Fair Pay Agreement regime. It is anticipated that this will this stop unions and employees commencing bargaining for such agreements, and stall the applications already in the process, including those in the early childhood education, hospitality, commercial cleaners, early childhood education, and the supermarket industries.
Expanding 90-day trials to all businesses. At present only businesses with fewer than 20 employees are able to adopt trial periods. The change will enable all businesses to end the employment of any new employee within the first 90 days of their employment.
Many employers will see this as an opportunity to have the confidence to employ people on the basis they will be able to end the employment during the first 90 days if things don’t work out without getting into employment law difficulties, especially those associated with having a personal grievance raised against them. For employers wanting to get these benefits to improve their businesses, there are important things to bear in mind however:
- Employers will still have obligations on them to act in good faith and to comply with their other employment law obligations.
- We expect that the legislative changes will still require explicit provision for the trial period to be in the written agreement creating the employment relationship, and specifically acknowledged by the employee.
Whether you are an employer wanting to ensure you are compliant with the new regime or an employee needing to review a proposed employment agreement where a trial period is proposed, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to help you protect your interests.