Various provisions from legislation introduced in 2018, such as the Employment Relations Amendment Act and the Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act 2018, had delayed commencement dates that are now fast approaching, as discussed in our previous update.
A fundamental change is the new restriction on the use of 90 day trial periods. On 6 May 2019, businesses with 20 or more employees will no longer be entitled to use trial periods for their new employees. Probationary periods may still be used, however these do not prevent employees who are dismissed during the first 90 days from raising personal grievances relating to their dismissal. Accordingly, employers will need to follow a fair process and have a good reason for termination when ending employment under a probationary period.
90 day trial period provisions can still be used and will be effective within new individual employment agreements right up to 6 May 2019. However, after this date they won't work for employers with 20 or more employees, and such employers should not use them in any individual employment agreements.
Other upcoming changes include the provision of leave and short term flexible working arrangements for those affected by Domestic Violence, new statutorily prescribed rest and meal breaks, and new union-related obligations on employers.
For further information on these changes please contact Charlotte Parkhill, Greg Cain, James Warren or Rachel Burt.