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Grievance-free probationary periods on right track

Media statement Friday, October 31st, 2003

Grievance-free probationary periods on right track

Small business Minister John Tamihere's idea of introducing a grievance-free probationary period is on the right track, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

Mr Tamihere floated the idea in the context of the Government review of the Employment Relations Act.

EMA's chief executive Alasdair Thompson said that this type of probationary period allows managers to let a new employee go, or the employee to quit, 'without hard feelings'.

"It would benefit small business owners," Mr Thompson said. "But one month is too short to give such a scheme a good chance of success.

"For most employers a month won't be long enough to decide if an employee is going to be up to the job.

"In Victoria, Australia, a three month 'trial' period is standard and in the UK grievance-free periods last a year. We support a three month probationary period."

On another point Mr Thompson warned any move from the ERA review to push people into a union would be strongly opposed by employers.

"Coercion of employees to join a union is against ILO principles and would not go down at all well with the 83% of employees who don't belong to a union," Mr Thompson said.

ENDS

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