This will hurt not help workers

A reader writes…

I am very disappointed in the scrapping of the 90 day trial period proposed by this new government, most of whom have had zero/zilch experience in the commercial world.

There will always be a number of job applicants who, for some reason beyond their control, have no qualifications specific to the job but are very keen and able to learn on the job.

A number of years ago when in a managerial role in a major Building Society, I was interviewing a number of young women for a cashier’s job. It was front-line, dealing with the public and very important for the company’s image.  One applicant, who seemed to have all the requisite characteristics, had absolutely no qualifications .. not even School Cert/NCEA level.

I asked her why. Her mother had become very unwell and, as the eldest girl in the family, she had to leave school to care for her mum. I decided to go with my gut feeling and employed her,            covered by the 90 day trial time which was in place, and she turned out to be one of our most effective front-line staff.

Another point; under today’s system of the online job application, she would not have had a chance to get the opportunity as she would be judged on qualifications only, not as a person.

The 90-day trial period has been embraced by employers across New Zealand since it was first introduced eight years ago but now, organisations are being told to prepare for something new.

[…] New Zealand’s coalition government is set to revamp trial periods by introducing a new provision which will require reasons for dismissal and justification.

Once the new legislation comes into play, unjustified dismissal disputes will be heard by a free referee service which can make decisions to reinstate or award damages to a capped amount.

Labour have totally missed the point of 90-day trials. They increase opportunities for workers precisely because they are a risk-free way for employers to take on workers who lack experience or qualifications. The argument that employers might abuse them makes no sense at all as it takes time and effort and money to train new staff. No employer is going to plan to get rid of a good worker after 90 days after putting the time and effort into training them.

By changing the 90 day trial period to make it all about the worker instead of the employer Labour will significantly reduce the number of opportunities for inexperienced and unqualified applicants to be given a chance to prove themselves and to gain experience. Just like Labour’s plan to raise the minimum wage, changing the 90-day trial legislation will ultimately cost workers jobs.

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