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Probation and trial periods

“Trial” periods up to 90 days: You can’t challenge an unfair dismissal

When can my employer include a trial period if I start a job?

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 67A, 67B

If you’re a new employee and your employer has fewer than 20 staff, your agreement can provide that you’ll serve a trial period of up to 90 days. If you’re fired during or at the end of the trial you won’t have the right to bring a personal grievance or any other legal action to challenge the firing.

For the trial arrangement to be valid, it has to be put in writing in your employment agreement. The employer also can’t put you on a trial if you’ve worked for them before.

What are my rights if I’m on a trial period?

Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 67A, 67B

If your employer does decide to fire you, they must give you notice before the end of your trial period (regardless of whether your last day will be before the end of the trial period, or on the date that it ends, or after it ends). If the trial arrangement isn’t valid, or if you’re told of the dismissal only after the trial period has ended, then you’ll be entitled to bring a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal, the same as any permanent employee.

If there are any problems during the trial, you can use the free mediation and other services provided through the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, the same as other employees. Also, although you can’t bring a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal, you can bring a personal grievance on any other grounds that might apply in your case – for example, discrimination or sexual harassment (see the chapter “Resolving employment problems”).

Next Section | Union rights

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Starting and leaving a job

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal information, advice and education about employment law issues.

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment


The Employment website of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment publishes a range of publications on employment relations and minimum rights at work.

Free phone: 0800 20 90 20, for general enquiries about employment relations, pay and holidays.

For translated employment information go to www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/rights-and-responsibilities/minimum-rights-of-employees-translations/#minimum

Reporting migrant exploitation


Make a complaint to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment about migrant exploitation with this online form.

If you need help completing the form or would like to speak to an interpreter, call 0800 200 088 between 8:00am – 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. You will be connected with an interpreter after you say the name of the language you speak.

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Te Kauae Kaimahi


Phone: (04) 385 1334
Email: info@nzctu.org.nz

The NZCTU is the umbrella body for affiliated unions covering every job and industry in New Zealand. It can provide information about which union may cover the type of work you do.

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective


A nationwide organisation run by sex workers for sex workers. They provide information and services for people who are doing sex work or thinking about doing sex work.

Phone (04) 382 8791
Mobile and media inquiries: 027 496 0700
Email: info@nzpc.org.nz

Migrant worker organisations

Union Network of Migrants – UNEMIG


Part of FIRST Union

Phone: 0800 863477

Migrant Workers Association


Email: help@migrantworkers.org.nz

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