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Probationary Employment Optional

29 June 2006

Probationary Employment Optional

As proposed, the 3-month probationary period for new employees is not mandatory, according to Susan-Jane Davies, who heads EMA Legal, the legal team at the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Central) Inc.

"In fact, the way Dr Mapp's Bill is worded, a probationary period will not occur unless both employer and employee choose to opt in."

Referring to concerns expressed by United Future that if a probationary period was applied to people already in the workforce, this could undermine job security and lead to a casualisation of the workforce, Ms Davies said such concerns were highly exaggerated.

"Employers make a significant investment in recruitment, induction, and the initial settling in period for new employees," she said. "It makes no sense to suggest that employers would want to go through that process every three months."

Susan-Jane Davies has 19 years' experience in employment law in the UK, where probationary employment periods are an accepted part of the employment landscape.

"Probationary periods last for 12 months in the UK," she said. "Only the statutory employment protection from 'unfair dismissal' is disabled during that period. All the other statutory employment protections still apply."

Ms Davies commented that workable internal communications channels for dispute resolution are prescribed under the UK legislation.

"This process helps any workplace issues to be resolved internally between employer and employee, both during the probation period and after," she said.


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