The Government has announced a number of proposed changes to
employment laws. The "employment law package" has been
designed to increase employment and boost the economy. The
Government will draft the proposed changes later this year and aim
to implement them by July 2011.
90 Day Trial Period
The 90 day trial period for new employees will extend to all
employers. Small employers fewer than 20 employees have since 1
April 2009 been able to hire employees on a 90 day trial. New
employees can be dismissed within the first 90 days and cannot
raise a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal. However, the
mutual duty of good faith still applies.
Employer processes will not be subjected to pedantic
The Employment Relations Authority will be able to:
filter out vexatious or frivolous claims early on;
give priority to mediated cases;
penalise behaviour that delays the Authority's process;
move to a more judicial process with the right to cross-examine
Unions will need employer consent for access to the workplace.
That consent will not be able to be unreasonably withheld.
Employees will be able to trade in one week's annual leave
for cash. Strict conditions would apply to ensure employers could
not force employees to do so.
Employers and employees can agree to transfer the observance of
public holidays to another working day.
Penalties will double for employers who breach the Holidays
Employers will be able to require an employee to produce proof
of any sickness or injury, but this would be at the employer's
cost. The current law provides that an employer can require proof
after three consecutive sick days.
These changes seem likely to provide further encouragement and
certainty for employers. If you need any clarification about any
facet of the employment law package, please contact the
employment team at Duncan Cotterill.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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