Monday, May 7, 2012

Firing at will

When National introduced the 90 day work trial legislation upon becoming the government at the 2008 election, there was an uproar from the Left. There was a further uproar when the scheme was extended on 1 April 2011.

The press releases were many. Grant Robertson told us that "Fire at Will puts health and education at risk" and that "Fire at Will could out new Supercity staff at risk". Winnie Laban reckoned that "Fire at Will" was going to be bad news for Pacific workers and damaging for Maori workers. Darien Fenton claimed that the Fire at Will legislation would contribute to more workplace injuries and deaths. And our old friends the Maritime Union of New Zealand, long-time donors to the Labour Party described the legislation as Government attacks on workers.

What you see above is just a small sampling from the buffet of dire predictions. But the reality is completely different; Stuff reports:

While the dust is settling on the 90 day trial period introduction just over a year ago, issues do still arise and 18 cases have been heard by the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court.
Under a 90 day trial period provision, new employees can be dismissed within the first 90 days of employment and cannot raise a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal. However, those employees can still bring a personal grievance on other grounds (including discrimination, harassment or unjustified disadvantage).
In most cases where an employee has successfully challenged the use a trial period by their employer, the Courts have focused on technical slip ups made by employers. These meant that the employer could not rely on the trial period and the employee was able to raise a personal grievance about their dismissal. 

So there you have it; far from being an employment apocalypse as Labour especially had predicted, the scheme is actually working as intended, and abuses of the process are being addressed. That just 18 cases have gone to the ERA or the Employment Court suggests that widespread abuses of the 90-day rule by unscrupulous employers are simply not happening.

We suppose that Labour had to oppose this policy; after all, the Labour Party purports top represent the working man or woman. Whether that is actually the case of not is open to debate! But the Chicken Little effect hasn't kicked in; the sky hasn't fallen. Maybe employers actually have more nous than the Labour Party gave them credit for. And we're sure that all those workers who have got into jobs BECAUSE of the 90-day work trial are happy too.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Key must fire Banks.

pdm said...

mrs pdm has recently completed her 90 days work trial without incident and I am about a third of the way through again with nothing to worry about.

It works.

Keeping Stock said...

That's great news pdm. For people at your stage in life there is nothing to fear because you have a good work ethic.

Labour jumped the shark over this issue, and all the doomsday stuff has been exposed as hyperbole and nonsense.