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Submissions on Probationary Employment Bill

30 March 2006

Call for submissions on the Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment Bill.

The passing of the first reading of the Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment Bill provides all interested parties – both employees and employers – with an opportunity to debate the issues in front of the select committee, and to influence the decision-making process.

This bill is a huge opportunity for fairer employment law, and addresses the issue that the Government’s Small Business Advisory Group identified as the biggest obstacle to the growth of small business in this country.

Since Labour has been in office, employment law has become increasingly complex. Small businesses, in particular, have had real difficulty in complying with the volume of paperwork and bureaucratic requirements.

A probation period enables an employer to take a chance with new employees without facing the risk of expensive and protracted personal grievance procedures. It will enable people who have not had previous work experience to find their first job, and it will make it easier for others to re-enter the workforce.

If the relationship does not work out during the 90-day period, either party can walk away without personal grievance procedures applying.

The bill preserves fundamental rights for employees on pay claims, holiday pay and sick leave. It makes allowance for discrimination claims, like sexual harassment.

New Zealand is the only OECD country that does not have a probation period for new employees. The most common length of probation period in the OECD is 90 days.

Interested parties have until May 20 to make a submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee. Submissions can be in any written form you like.

You can view the bill here.

Dr Wayne Mapp

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