Hiring New Employees

Employment Agreements

Every employee must have a written Employment Agreement. There are two types of Employment Agreements, an Individual Agreement or a Collective Agreement.

The Employment Relations Act 2000 sets out what provisions must be included in Employment Agreements by law, and there are also a number of minimum conditions that must be met regardless of whether they are included in Individual or Collective Agreements.

The Employment Relations Act 2000 also provides a framework for negotiating additional entitlements.

To ensure you have all the required details correctly outlined and included in your HR policies, we recommend you contact us to discuss.

90 Day Trial Period

Trial periods in Employment Agreements must be provided to prospective employees at the same time and as part of the making of an offer of employment to the employee. Be aware that employer with 19 or fewer employees can only use a trial period for up to 90 days as long as this is agreed in the written employment agreement before the employee starts work.

To ensure a robust process you need to make acceptance of the offer and commencement of employment conditional upon the employee signing the proposed Employment Agreement that contains the trial period.

Employers need to take care when implementing or relying on an employment trial period.

Things to be aware of

  • A prospective employee must be given a reasonable opportunity to seek advice about the terms of employment otherwise they may have grounds to challenge the validity of the trial period.
  • A prospective employer needs to ensure the trial period clause expressly states that the trial period commences on the employee's first day of employment.

We recommend that employers call us now for specific advice when considering whether to implement trial periods. Care should also be exercised in any dismissal situation, regardless of the existence of a trial period.

Link to cases: Blackmore v Honick Properties Limited [2011] NZEmpC 152

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