Stories like this one from Stuff.co.nz are proof that 90 Day Trial Periods aren’t working.
Here at the Centre, we’re under no illusions that every single young person seeking advocacy for a workplace issue, is a perfect wee angel.
We know that some people at work, really deserve to undergo investigations and disciplinary processes; which is sort of how trial periods came about. They were introduced to make it a little easier for employers to deal with particularly troublesome employees.
As far as we’re concerned there are more than a few issues with the concept.
- Loads of young people are unfairly dismissed by employers who are in business for what they can gain.
Sometimes that means an employer hasn’t fully explained the clause in the contract. Sometimes it means that a young person is dismissed under the 90 Day Trial clause, even though they weren’t provided with a contract in the first place. Other times it just means that a young person on the Minimum Youth Rate ($12.60/hour) is cheaper to hire and replace in three months, than it is to hire an adult on Minimum Wage ($15.75/hour). And there’s no way to tell, because employers aren’t asked to justify why they have a trial period in their employment agreements.
- Many employers are utilising a 90 Day Trial clause without really knowing what that means themselves.
All the time we hear of employers and business owners who “fire” their employees at 9am, and then by 9.30am the employee is expected to be off the premises. Unbeknownst to the employer, 90 Day Trials are actually still subject to all other legal requirements, like providing the employee with the notice period stated in their employment agreement. They’re not a tool for instant dismissal.
- Employers dismiss employees usually to do best by their company/organisation, but what they end up with is more trouble than they started with.
Even if an employer has every reason to dismiss an under-performing employee under a 90 Day Trial, it has to be used exactly according to the law otherwise that employee has grounds to raise a personal grievance; which is the very thing that 90 Day Trials are trying to combat.
90 Day Trial Periods are not just doing harm to the scumbags who steal from their workplaces; they are doing harm to hard workers, good bosses, and fair business owners. Everyone loses.
So, let’s support the move to alter and further define the legislation.