Common 90-day trial pitfalls amid unjustified dismissal ruling

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An IT specialist went from earning $155,000 to being sacked from his company under the 90-day trial rule.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled that Ahmed Alkazaz, the employee in question, was unjustifiably dismissed because his 90-day trial clause did not meet the requirements of the Employment Relations Act.

Employment Law Advocate Danny Gelb joins Afternoon Talk to discuss the fine details and common pitfalls for companies and employees that use the 90-day trial.

When the National government introduced the 90 day trial period in 2009, employers were given a way to dismiss new employees who were deemed unsuitable on the job.

“The purpose of [the 90-day trial] at the time was to help stimulate the job market and stimulate the economy,” says Mr Gelb.

Mr Gelb notes that the trial is not mandatory, contrary to popular belief.

“People seem to think employment must have a 90-day trial period,” he says. “That’s not the case at all.”

Mr Gelb reminds job seekers that while a company might opt for a trial period in their employment agreement, it’s a provision that can technically be negotiated.

You do not need to accept the provision of the 90-day trial period in the employment agreement.

However, he notes that the candidate may lose out on the job if they decline the provision.

As for companies opting for the trial, Mr Gelb recommends dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Many companies get it wrong, with roughly two-thirds of trial period clauses he sees being invalid. 

Listen to the full interview with Danny Gelb above.

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