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An employee may not raise a personal grievance in respect of a dismissal that occurs during the 90-day period, providing that the trial period has been correctly entered into.

Of course, the employee may commence a personal grievance in respect of any of the other grounds set out in section 103(1)(b) to (g) of the Act.

The 90 day trial period must be in writing, in the employment agreement.

The employer and the employee must agree to the trial period, prior to the employee commencing employment.  The 90-day trial period is only open to “new” employees.  If you have commenced work prior to signing the agreement, then the 90 day trial period will not apply, and the employer may not rely on that period to dismiss you.

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  • Why do I need a lawyer for employment matters?

    There are many reasons you may need a lawyer in employment matters.

    Before starting a job, you may want to have your employment contract checked by a lawyer before you sign. There may be conditions, terminology you don't understand or 'small print' that is worth double-checking before putting pen to paper.

    The most common reasons to get in touch with a lawyer include:

    • constructive or unjustifiable dismissal
    • harassment or bullying
    • unfairly made redundant
  • What should be in an employment contract?

    An employer must allow you to take away an employment agreement, and to seek advice on its terms prior to signing the agreement. A solicitor can provide advice on any areas of concern or any areas that require clarification.

    The employment contract needs to be in writing and signed by you and your employer. The agreement needs to include:

    • names of the employer and the employee
    • description of work to be performed by you
    • indication of where you need to perform the work
    • indication of the arrangements relating to the times/hours you need to work
    • the wages or salary
    • redundancy clause
    • a plain language explanation of the services available for the resolution of employment relationship problems
  • Do I have rights if I am a contractor or a temp?

    Fixed term and casual agreements both have specific contractual requirements. These contracts should also be reviewed professionally before being signed.

    Independent contractors are not employees and are not covered by the Employment Relations Act. However, there can be times when it is arguable whether someone is a contractor or employee.

  • What is the difference between a collective and an individual agreement?

    Under the Employment Relations Act 2000, there are two types of employment agreements: individual employment agreements and collective agreements.

    Individual employment agreements are negotiated between an individual and their employer, and bind only those parties.

    Collective agreements are negotiated between a registered union and an employer. A collective agreement will only be binding on employees who are members of the union and whose positions are covered by the coverage clause of the collective agreement.

  • What should I consider before signing an employment contract?

    If there is an involuntary termination, what will happen?

    • If there is a termination, how much notice must you receive?
    • What is the base pay and performance incentives?
    • Is there a trial period?
    • What is the job description or position description?
    • If you want to do some work on the side or have a sideline business, is this allowed with your employment contract?
    • What are your rights to copyrights, inventions or creative outputs while in the job?
    • Is there a restraint of trade in the event of a termination?
    • If you wanted to start a business after you leave your employment are you allowed to work with their customers (how long it is before you can approach them)?
    • What happens if your employer sells the business?
    • Are you allowed to work for a competitor within a certain time frame of leaving the previous job?
  • When does an employment contract become binding?

    Provided that an offer of employment has been made, and accepted, you are "a person intending to work" whether or not they have signed an employment agreement.

    As an employee, you have many of the same protections as someone who has commenced work, and also some obligations. Should you decide not to commence work, you may have to provide a period of notice to your employer. However, the employer cannot withdraw an offer of employment once it has been accepted. To do so would run the risk of a personal grievance being raised by you.

    An employee who does not have an agreement prior to beginning work may then bargain on each and every point in the agreement, when that it presented after commencement of employment. The employer and employee may then negotiate over the terms until they come to agreement.

    From 1 July 2011, it is mandatory a signed employment agreement is held on file by the employer for every employee. This will include casual, part-time, fixed term and permanent employees.

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