With the changes to the 90 day trial period coming into effect on 6th May, conversations have resurfaced about the effectiveness of using probationary periods as an alternative.
Certainly, there is merit in using them but it should be done with caution.
The intent of a probationary period is to assess an employee’s skill set for a particular position – this means that (unlike the 90 day trial period), it can be used for an ex-employee coming back into the organisation or for a current employee moving into a new role.
However, there are some things to keep in mind regarding a probationary period:
On 1st April the new Domestic Violence – Victim’s Protection Bill comes into effect. This piece of legislation entitles employees affected by domestic violence to up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave per year, in order to deal with the effects of domestic violence.
Employment issues again hit the headlines in the last month with cases that had gone before the Employment Relations Authority (ERA). And again, the learning is the importance of PROCESS when considering terminating an employee.
In Queenstown, a carpenter was awarded $24,500 after being unjustifiably dismissed while in Fiji attending the funeral of a close relative. He was only told his employment had ended when he contacted his employer to see why he hadn’t been paid. It was then that he was told they’d run out of work for him.
Recent cases brought to light by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) have again demonstrated the importance of having your staff on the right type of individual employment agreements (IEA), and the costly consequence of an incorrect classification.
There are three primary classifications for employees; Permanent, Fixed Term and Casual, and there are variances in some of the clauses within the applicable employment agreement.
The Labour government has proposed changes to the 90 day trial period, by only allowing it to be used by companies that employ 19 or less people, but it hasn’t become law just yet.