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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. 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.

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 you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

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

Website: www.employment.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 20 90 20
Starting a job: www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/
Leaving a job: www.employment.govt.nz/ending-employment/

Te Kauae Kaimahi/
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

Te Kauae Kaimahi 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.

Website: www.union.org.nz
Email: info@nzpc.org.nz
Phone: (04) 385 1334

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective

The New Zealand Prostitutes Collective is 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.

Website: www.nzpc.org.nz
Email: info@nzpc.org.nz
Phone: 04 382 8791
Instagram: www.instagram.com/_nzpc/

Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG)

UNEMIG or Union Network of Migrants is an association of migrant workers within FIRST Union.

Website: www.unemig.org.nz
Email: unemig@firstunion.org.nz 
Phone: 0800 863 477

Migrant Workers Association

The Migrant Workers Association NZ fights for migrant workers’ rights and against injustice and exploitation in the workplace.

Website: migrantworkers.org.nz
Email: help@migrantworkers.org.nz
Phone: 0800 863 477
Facebook: www.facebook.com/migrantworkersassociationaotearoa/

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