Survey shows just how critical 90-day trial periods are for business and workers

Date Added: 6th June 2018 from


A recent nationwide survey of businesses and employers have found that the 90-day trial periods give business the confidence to take on staff they otherwise would not have.

"The 90-day trial periods really should be called the "take a chance on me" workers’ legislation," says John Milford, Chief Executive, representing members from Business Central, the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, and ExportNZ Central.

"The feedback from members in the survey revealed just how important the trial period is for New Zealand, having helped thousands of people into jobs and helped businesses fill critical vacancies. Overall the survey demonstrates just how it is critical that the current law remains in place.

"The feedback isn’t theoretical or ideological positioning - this is based on real life, real world examples that make a difference for both employers and their staff.

"The current bill proposed arbitrarily prevents companies with more than 20 employees from using trial periods. As a result, from the feedback, we believe many people may miss out on a chance to prove themselves in the workplace, as without the trial employers won’t have the same degree of confidence to employ.

"This would be a backward step - for business, for workers, and for the New Zealand economy."

The survey was a collaborative effort by the Employers and Manufacturers Association, Business Central, Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Otago Southland Employers Association.

Almost 1000 businesses responded with 77% saying the 90-day trial period was extremely important part of their decision-making to engage a new employee.

The majority of companies (90%) said they had kept employees on after the trial period had finished. They went on to say that 94% of employees employed under the 90-day trial period remained with them for longer than 12 to 18 months.

The main reasons cited for using a 90-day trial period were to see if the employee was capable of performing the role, to see how they would fit into the workplace, the employer wanted to give them a go and give the new employee time to learn the job.

Thirty nine percent of survey respondents who had between 19 to 50 staff said removing the 90-day trial period would negatively impact the way they hire staff. And 72% of respondents recommended using the 90-day trial periods.

About 38% of respondents said they had not let anyone go who they had hired under a 90-day trial period and 37% had let between one and two people go since the trial period was introduced in 2009.

Respondents to the survey were mainly from the manufacturing sector, with construction, retail, professional services and health care being the next largest sectors. The majority of respondents (39%) employed 11 to 49 staff. Twenty percent employed 10 staff or fewer, 18% employed 50 to 100 staff and 14% employed 100 to 250 staff