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Changes to 90 day trial periods - what do you need to know?

On the 6th May 2019 the legislation around 90 day trial periods is changing - what will this mean for your business?


If you have under 20 employees (19 or less) then there will be no change and you can continue to use the 90 day trial period as usual. It is probably worth getting the clause in your Employment Agreements checked to ensure that it is compliant and remember that there are conditions around the use of 90 day trial periods - if you want a checklist to help with this then please get in touch.


If you have 20 or more employees then you will not be able to use the 90 day trial period in any Employment Agreement issued after the 6th May 2019. You will however be able to use a probation period, but will need to add a valid clause to your Employment Agreements. Any trial period that started prior to the 6th May is still valid, even if the end date is after the 6th May 2019.


Under a probation period you do need to use a fair process to raise any issues and potentially dismiss if the new employee isn't meeting your expectations, this process should be outlined in your Agreement. You can use a reduced process compared to the usual performance management process but it is important that you adhere to your process and follow through on any commitments made regarding training and support.


Under a probation period an employee does have the right to raise a personal grievance and failure to follow the stipulated process would be a valid reason to do so.


Some things to consider when you are deciding whether to introduce a probation period are:

  • The "under 20" staff count includes casual and fixed term agreements so make sure you are counting everyone

  • You can use a probation period for a current staff member moving to a new role or being promoted

  • Probation periods can be for longer than 90 days and/or can be extended

  • You need to be monitoring performance and communicating regularly with your new employee so set up processes that will enable this


We recommend that you seek advice on individual cases if you have any concerns during either a 90 day trial or probation period.


If you would like me to review your Employment Agreement to ensure you are compliant for this and other recent legislation changes then please contact me today