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Are you trying trial periods and find them tiring? Employsure can help you. Period.

Hiring employees can be difficult at best. You have to make sure you’ve got the job description right, before reading many resumes and interviewing candidates – sometimes several times – until you’ve got the right one.

Well, did you know that under New Zealand workplace relations law you can put employees on a probation called a trial period?

A trial period lasts up to 90 days and during that time you can decide whether you’d like to retain your employee.

Trial periods can be a great way to judge whether a candidate is fit for the role. However, there are a few rules around how they may be used.

For instance, only businesses with 19 or fewer employees may utilise 90 day trial periods, and employees who have been employed previously by the employer cannot be put on a trial period.

There is much more you should understand before running a 90 day trial period. If you’d like to know more about 90 day trial periods, if you are currently running one, or have any other workplace relations queries, call us today.

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Got questions about trial periods for your employees? We can help.

As one of the leading employment relations specialists, we can help you with questions about:

  • 90 day trial periods
  • Notice periods
  • Trial periods for different types of employment
  • Trial period entitlements in contracts
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    Because we’re confident you’ll find the Employsure experience so beneficial, we’re happy to offer this initial consultation free of charge.

    This way, when you encounter more complex, ongoing issues with Employment Relations Act, you’ll already know that Employsure are the experts you can trust.

    Besides, employees have unions, industry associations, the Employment Relations Authority.

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    Looking for answers? Ask Employsure.

    In our Ask Employsure Q&A series we answer some of the most commonly asked questions by employers and employees alike.

    From employment law to workplace relations, Employsure can help.

    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is considered the central agency for employers and business owners. It is a government body that develops and delivers policy, services and regulation to promote and support business growth in New Zealand.

    While this statement is helpful in understanding where it fits in the broader New Zealand economy, understanding what the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment actually does is important for employers. The MBIE is the government’s lead agency which directly interacts with employers to help businesses grow to become more competitive, and to ultimately improve job opportunities for New Zealanders.

    More broadly, the MBIE plays a key role in supporting business growth through a number of targeted methods directly related to the employment relationship:

    • aligning the development of skills to the needs of businesses
    • ensuring workplaces remain fair and safe
    • providing dispute resolution services for employment

    If you're having trouble understanding how the MBIE relates to your business — or if you're generally having trouble understanding the Employment Relations Act — give us a call.

    We offer free initial advice to business owners about the Employment Relations Act. Call us now on 0800 101 354.

    How does the wage subsidy work?

    The New Zealand Wage subsidy was set up to provide support to all New Zealand employers, contractors, sole-traders, self-employed people, registered charities and incorporated societies affected by COVID-19.

    A business can apply to receive a payment from Work and Income that they use to help them pay their wages to staff. It is aimed at reducing redundancies and restructures during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    The Wage Subsidy is intended to allow employers to continue to pay their employees and allow employees to still receive an income even if they are unable to work. Most businesses will qualify to receive the extended Wage Subsidy, provided they meet certain eligibility criteria.

    If you're having trouble understanding how COVID-19 restrictions and the wage subsidy relates to your business — or if you're generally having trouble understanding the Employment Relations Act — give us a call.

    We offer free initial advice to business owners about the Employment Relations Act. Call us now on 0800 101 354.

    Need help with employment law changes?

    Many employers in New Zealand struggle to keep up with employment law changes. What may have been standard for many years, could suddenly change to something totally new. Laws are amended, new legislation gets introduced and the obligations employers have to meet can shift and change.

    Employment law covers a diverse range of areas in regards to workplace relations from hours and wages, to workplace policies and ending employment.

    Some of these basic minimum rights cover the following areas:

    • Employment agreements
    • holiday, parental and sick leave
    • Rest and meal breaks
    • Hours and wages
    • Health and safety
    • Employment relations issues
    • Unions

    Employment law in New Zealand is a term to cover a broad set of rules, requirements and legislation. Since employment laws cover a range of topics and industries, keeping track of the latest policy changes is a burden for employers.

    If you're having trouble understanding how employment law relates to your business — or if you're generally having trouble understanding the Employment Relations Act — give us a call.

    We offer free initial advice to business owners about the Employment Relations Act. Call us now on 0800 101 354.

    What is the ERA?

    Employment Relations Authority.
    The employment relationship can be difficult to manage and unfortunately problems do arise. Where an employee and an employer cannot resolve their conflict between them, the employment relations Authority, ERA, will play an unbiased role in resolving the issue based on the facts and the merits of each case. The Employment Relations Authority operates with the powers provided by the employment relations act 2000. Involving the Employment Relations Authority in a breakdown in the employment relationship can be done by either an employer or an employee. An employee in a dispute with their boss over something like unpaid wages can contact the employment relations authority. Likewise, an employer who feels the employee is not complying with the terms of an employment agreement can also contact the ERA.

    Steps required before involving the employment relations authority.
    The first course of action in resolving disputes is always to try and solve the issue between the two parties. Employers should reach out to employees in a similar manner to employees raising their concerns with employers or managers to resolve disputes before they escalate. Following the failure of the two parties to resolve a dispute, mediation is the next step whereby an independent mediator will sit with both parties to try and resolve the issue. As a government agency, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment offers a free mediation service as well as offices for use in mediation. Where both of these efforts fail and the relationship has completely broken down the Employment Relations Authority will make a determination after hearing both sides of the story. This is a formal process and can take months to resolve. What is the process in the Employment Relations Authority? Following the failure of mediation to resolve the employment dispute, either party is entitled to lodge an application with the ERA, a copy of which will be sent to the respondent.

    Lodging an application in the Employment Relations Authority. The first step is to lodge an application with the ERA. In this step, there are certain fields of information which need to be included in the application to the ERA. Who the applicant is having the problem with, this party will then be known as the respondent. A plain language description of the problem. A statement of the facts which have caused the problem. Indication of how the applicant wishes to have the problem resolved. Attached copies of relevant documents. An explanation of what has already taken place to try and solve the matter outside of the ERA, including any mediation. However to start a case with the ERA a statement of the problem must first be lodged using the Application to Authority form. In submitting documents to the ERA for your case, supporting documents are important and often take the form of employment agreements, payslips, any correspondence between the parties, and any notes from meetings which have taken place. Applications are encouraged to be lodged online. However, the opportunity to apply by post or hand also exists. Regardless of how the application is made, the Application to Authority form needs to be used and depending on the type of application a fee is also payable. Once the process above has been completed and the respondent has been provided the application, this party has 14 days to provide a statement in reply. The statement in reply should include the respondent's plain language description of the problem, their version of facts, and any steps already taken to resolve the issue. Failure to file a statement in reply will lead the ERA to make a decision on how to progress the claim. Whether it goes to mediation, a case management conference, or is set down for an investigation meeting.

    Getting the issues straight.
    After an application is lodged, and before any investigation meeting takes place, the ERA will evaluate the issues which have been identified by either party. The Employment Relations Authority may seek clarification of any point raised by the employer or employee, ask for additional evidence from either party, or hold a case management conference. A case management conference often takes place via phone and is meant to be brief and informal, involving both parties and a member from the ERA. A case management conference will enable the ERA to understand clearly the issues under investigation, consider all avenues to resolve the problem and determine the most appropriate option, outline the time frame for additional steps such as supply of supporting documents or witness statements, obtain the details of those giving evidence, explain the procedure for the investigation meeting, determine an agreeable date place and time for the investigation meeting. This can be quite a lengthy process going through the ERA and both parties should be prepared for this to be the case. However, going through mediation prior to application will mean your case is heard quicker.

    The investigation meeting.
    Investigation meetings are not as formal as court hearings and often accommodate both parties as much as possible with no party being disadvantaged. In these meetings, friends and supporters are able to attend with either party and either party can present their own case or have a representative do it for them. At the start of the meeting, the ERA member conducting the meeting will make introductions and outline how the meeting will work and the speaking order of those present. There will then be questions based on what was provided in the statement of problem and statement in reply. The ERA member may ask you to provide evidence at the meeting verbally or by way of a written statement, so employers and employees should be prepared to give evidence. Similarly, every witness who has provided a statement will be required to attend. The witnesses can expect questions on their statement from the ERA member and cross-examination may also be used at the meeting. At the end of the meeting both parties have the option to sum up information which has been provided to the ERA, part of which may include providing any supporting legal principles. With good reason, if the applicant does not make the meeting the matter may be dismissed. If the respondent fails to attend the ERA may make a determination based on whatever information is available.

    Deliberation and determination.
    The final decision in the ERA process is the consideration of all the evidence and a determination being made. While a determination is issued in writing, it is becoming increasingly popular to give an oral indication of how the determination is likely to unfold at the end of the investigation meeting. These determinations are legally binding, provided to both parties, and made public. There are a number of solutions to employment issues available to the ERA. Which one is used will depend on the type of claim. For example, if an employee has been dismissed, an interim reinstatement may be ordered while the ERA continues deliberation. However, if it is feasible, and if the employee wants to return to their job, a reinstatement could be ordered. Financial remedies can often take the form of reimbursement for an employee to cover lost wages following unjustified action by the employer or compensation for humiliation caused by the action of an employer. In some cases, compliance may be ordered by the ERA with an employer being forced to pay wages and other pay owed to an employee. Other instances of compliance can be a settlement between the parties, or one party being ordered to pay a penalty under the Employment Relations Act 2000. The issue of costs and compensation will also be determined by the ERA, with either party or both being required to pay the total costs. The Employment Relations Authority issues legally binding determinations and adheres to a process underpinned by legislation. So, navigating through the ERA can be difficult for many employers. For advice and support in interacting with the ERA, call Employsure on 0800 675 700, day or night.

    What is the MBIE?

    The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment.
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is considered the central agency in New Zealand's business and employment fields. It is a government body which works to develop and deliver on policy, services, and regulation to promote and support business growth.
    What is the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment? While the statement above is helpful in understanding where it fits in the broader New Zealand economy, understanding what the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) actually does is important for employers. The MBIE is the government's lead agency which directly interacts with employers to help business grow, to become more competitive, and to ultimately improve job opportunities for New Zealanders. One of the core functions of the MBIE includes administering acts and regulations on behalf of the government across a number of categories such as; building and construction, commerce, communications and information technology, consumer protection, economic development, energy and resources, housing, immigration, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and compensation, science and innovation, tourism, workplace relations and safety.

    What is the role of the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment?
    There are direct functions which are taken on by the MBIE covering specific areas of economic activity, as well as more general areas of operation. For example, the MBIE has been partnering with other agencies to support Canterbury's recovery following the devastating Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.
    In this example, the MBIE is taking the lead in supporting the residential rebuild and monitoring the public sector rebuild, all the while ensuring that employment prospects return to this region. More broadly, the MBIE plays a key role in supporting business growth through a number of targeted methods directly related to the employment relationship. Aligning the development of skills to the needs of businesses, ensuring workplaces remain fair and safe, providing dispute resolution services for employment.

    Employment mediation services.
    Disputes have the potential to be costly and highly disruptive, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment offers a free mediation service to any employer or employee with a problem in their working relationships. Where engaging with the employee has not worked and an issue remains unresolved, employers can arrange for employment mediation services to help finalise the issue. Employment mediation services also has offices which can be utilised for the purpose of mediation meetings. The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment is a key government agency which directly influences the employment relationship in New Zealand. If you are unsure of whether or not to involve the MBIE in any employment relations issue, contact one of our specialists on our advice line day or night on 0800 675 700.

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    Employsure takes the complexity out of employment relations to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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    Workplace relations can be difficult to understand, and the time and money spent on understanding and implementing changes can be costly.

    Employsure can help you better understand workplace relations and clarify the latest legislation updates. We can also give you peace of mind knowing someone has your back. Call us today and see how we can help.

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    Man: I'm sure I don't have to tell you that running a small business can be challenging. And the last thing you need are problems from your staff, the very people you hired to make your day easier. But, unfortunately, workplace problems can arise every single day. And as a business owner, you need to be able to navigate some of the most complicated workplace laws and wage systems in the world all while doing your day job, running a successful business. So, who can you turn to for help?
    Woman: Good morning. How are you today?
    Man: Good morning. I'm very well. How are you?
    Ask the experts at Employsure because our day job is dealing with complex workplace relations and awards so you have the confidence and control to get on with your day job. Employsure, one of the leading employment relations experts, offers peace of mind to business owners. Our experts take the time to get to know you and your business and the unique situations that you face. So, you can be sure the advice we offer isn't just a run-of-the-mill robot reply.
    Congratulations Tina, and welcome to Employsure.
    Woman: Thank you so much for coming today.
    Man: But rather completely tailored to the challenges your business faces. What's more, we stand by our advice and we can help you should you ever find yourself faced with a claim. Now, you can't get surer than that.

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