Finally when the new 90 day trial period statute came into effect, employers had some sort of protection when trialling new employees. Certainly as an HR consulting firm, we were very excited about this change. The legislation states that you can dismiss any ‘new’ employees within the 90 day trial period without giving a reason and without them taking out a personal grievance for the dismissal. Sounds simple huh? Well no……as employer’s and HR firms are learning, it is not that simple. Here are some facts that all employers need to beware of:
You must have this clause in your contract and it must state exactly what it covers i.e:
For a specified period (not exceeding 90 days) starting at the beginning of the employee’s employment, the employee is to serve a trial period. During the trial period the employer may dismiss the employee without reason; and the employee is not entitled to bring a personal grievance or other legal proceedings in respect of that dismissal.
This clause does not apply to employees you have previously employed
They must sign the agreement BEFORE they start…not even a minute after they started as then they are no longer classed as new
They can still take out a personal grievance on other grounds such as discrimination, unjustified disadvantage or for not being fair and reasonable
Dismissal must be on-notice
You are still required to act in good faith during the trial period
Even though the statute states you don’t need to advise why, we recommend that you do, however, you don’t need to put it in writing (but be careful that you don’t open yourself up to other issues).
If you find that you are in the position where you may need to dismiss using this clause, we highly recommend that you get advice to ensure you can and are managing it correctly. In fact, ensure you have your contracts correct from the beginning! Don’t forget as HR specialists, we are only a phone call away!!