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90-day widening gets the big tick from farmers

90-day widening gets the big tick from farmers

Federated Farmers is welcoming reports that the Employment Relations Act will be amended to extend the 90-day probation period to all employers.

“At the jobs summit in 2009, Federated Farmers pushed hard to extend the 90-day provision to all employers,” says David Rose, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson.

“For the agricultural sector, direct farm wages represent some $2.63 billion of our costs. The current 90-day provision for employers with less than 20-employees has been of benefit to us.

“Yet a large slice of agriculture’s cost structure is in downstream processing.

“Extending this provision to companies employing more than 20 people will enable dairy factories, meat processing companies and other large employers to become more responsive.

“It enables the employee, as well as the employer, to realistically trial the work place relationship. This makes it easier for employers to try younger or older employees as well as those from non-traditional backgrounds. That’s labour market flexibility.

“It actually treats the employment relationship as one between equals. Currently for larger employers, it is the employers problem from day-one if they make a wrong employment decision.

“For medium sized enterprises that’s a massive growth disincentive. Employment relationships can be litigious and fraught because it’s extremely personal. It can take the management eye off running the company.

“Federated Farmers believes once 90-days is bedded in and the fears of unions disproved, it should be further extended to 180 days for small and medium sized businesses with less than 49 employees.

“Small and medium businesses often lack the human resource depth of larger firms and 180 days would not set a global precedent either. I must point out that it would be a lot more generous to employees than the 10-month probationary period operative in Ireland or the 12-months in the United Kingdom.

“Federated Farmers applauds the Labour Minister, the Hon Kate Wilkinson, for moving to free up labour markets. We now look forward to the Prime Minister’s speech on Sunday for more details,” Mr Rose concluded.


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