Probation and trial periods
Probation periods: Not much effect on your rights as an employee
What is “probation”?
You and your employer can agree that you’ll serve a period of probation so your employer can assess whether you’re suitable for the job. If so, this must be recorded in your written employment agreement.
During probation your performance will be watched particularly closely, and your ability to do the job will be reviewed at the end of the probation period. While you’re on probation your employer should tell you exactly what standards you’re required to meet.
How long can a probation period last for?
There’s no maximum length for probation periods. Instead, this will depend on what is reasonable in your particular situation. The length of the probation period has to be set out in your employment agreement.
What are my rights if I’m on probation?
You’ll generally have the same legal rights and protections as if you were a permanent employee. If there are any problems during the probation period, your employer must follow a fair disciplinary or process, and give you the opportunity to respond to and remedy their concerns before a dismissal process.
You’ll have the right to take a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal to the ERA if you’re dismissed at the end of the probation period. For more on personal grievances and how to bring one, see: “Resolving employment problems”.
In contrast to a probation period, an employee that’s on a trial period can’t bring a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal.