You might have heard about something called a “90-day trial period.” What exactly is it, and how does it affect you as an employee?


So, what’s the deal with this 90-day trial period? Well, it’s designed to employers and employees alike the chance to test the waters before committing to a long-term employment arrangement. Think of it as a trial run—a period during which both parties can assess whether they’re a good fit for each other without the weighty burden of a permanent employment commitment.




Now, you might be wondering: doesn’t this just mean employers are allowed to terminate employees at will?

Well, not quite. While the 90-day trial period does grant employers the flexibility to end employment without adhering to the usual dismissal procedures, there are strict criteria that must be met first. For starters, the trial period can only apply to new employees who haven’t previously worked for the employer before, which means it doesn’t apply if the Employment Agreement was signed even one minute after the employee starts work. Additionally, the employment agreement must include a clause clearly outlining the 90-day trial period and can even fail if some of the wording is wrong. Fair bargaining is also a prerequisite for invoking this provision, and when terminating an employee, an employer must adhere to the required notice period by strictly sticking to what has been agreed.



The Employment Court has been very clear, if an employer wants to use the 90 day trial period they have to dot every i and cross every t. Employers must tread carefully to ensure adherence to the requirements for a 90 day trial period. Failing to follow the very strict procedural requirements or working in the agreement could invalidate the trial clause, exposing the employer to a personal grievance for the dismissal.


What to do if you have been terminated during a 90 -day trial period.

If you ever find yourself facing being dismissed under a 90-day trial period, always get it checked as their many ways the employer may have failed. For example if your agreement says 3 months instead of 90 days your employer won’t be able to hide behind the 90 day trial period.



Not only that but you can still raise a grievance for other issues even of the 90 day trial period is valid. Our team is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of New Zealand’s employment landscape and ensuring fair treatment every step of the way. Get in touch with them here.