Union Spin

CTU Head Ross Wilson has attacked Wayne Mapp’s Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment Bill. I suppose he has to – it’s his job.

He tries to spins the argument that it is not needed as employers already can:

* employ people on a casual basis
* employ people for a fixed term
* start someone on a probationary period

The reality is far different from this picture of employer-friendly environment Wilson paints.

First of all you can not employ some-one on a casual basis just because you want to. It has to be linked to genuine casual work flows for that job. So you can’t use a casual contract as a probationary period.

Likewise Labour over-turned a Court of Appeal decision on fixed term contracts and have greatly restricted their applicability. You can’t put an employee on a fixed term to test how they work out. It has to be related to a genuine need for fixed term such as working on a fixed term project.

And lastly the current allowance for probationary periods. The truth here is that they do not in any significant way lessen the very expensive and burdensome process required to terminate some-one who is not performing. Sure a massive corporate with a $1 million HR Department may be able to work it, but 95% of employers can not.

Employers want to keep good staff on. It’s not hard for some-one to perform well for at least their first 90 days. I mean you’d have to be pretty awful to force your employer to go to the hassle and cost of dismissing you, advertising for a new person, appointing them and training them up.

UPDATE: Also read the column by David Lowe of Northern EMA in favour of the law.

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