Essential Update May 2024

In this update:


As of 8th April 2024, more significant changes took effect in relation to immigration – especially in relation to AEWV employees.  Changes affect many aspects, but significantly the length and renewability of some visas; your responsibility for advising Immigration if the employee leaves your employ for any reason; and the costs to you if you fail to comply with your responsibilities as the employer.

I cannot advise in this area – so if you are already employing staff as an Accredited Employer, or if you wish to – make sure you are in regular contact with an Immigration advisor.

I use/recommend Karen Justice and her team at New Era Consulting Limited - or

Use of the 90-day Trial

I know that for most of you, the 90-day Trial has been part of your contract for years – but for a number it has only been allowed back since November.  I am getting a lot of enquiries and there are a number of things you must be aware of – because if you dismiss someone under a 90-day trial period that proves to be invalid, it will get very costly as an unjustified dismissal.  Here are my key pointers for a 90-day Trial:

  • It must be a clause in a signed Employment agreement, signed before the employee does even a minute’s paid employment
  • The person must not have been employed by you (in any capacity) before
  • It must refer to being a 90-day trial period in accordance with the ERA (preferably stating S67A)
  • It must specify a notice period (and you cannot pay out in lieu of notice)
  • It is best to give no explanation for why you terminate under this clause – “it just didn’t work” (there are various things you cannot discriminate against and you can’t use the 90-days just to see if they can do the job)

And just to be clear – it is not a Probationary Period – in law these are very different and relate to s67 of the Act.  Most importantly: a Probationary Period does not allow for easy dismissal – it still needs the same disciplinary action as other agreements.

If you need wording for a Trial Period clause, please contact me.


Costs of getting it wrong

This is just a warning – it’s not that things have changed, but the bands of seriousness adopted by the Employment Relations Authority are starting to be more evident and I am regularly seeing awards of $10-15k plus lost wages, where an employee was dismissed without fair process.

So, if ever you want to terminate an employee’s employment, however clearly their hand was in the cookie jar, get advice on process first.


Essential HR moves office

Well, Jess has been gone for 6 weeks now and believe me, Jess, you are missed!  But life goes on and for me this means I am moving my Christchurch office to my home base in Lyttleton.  Nicole Elvy – a huge thank you to you and your Equation team for hosting me for the last 3 years plus.  It’s been awesome co-locating with you, and I am very grateful for your openness to me hiring a meeting room going forwards.

For my clients: really very little will change.  I will still be as available as before, though I would find it easier to make good use of my travelling if I can arrange some meetings in advance.  Most importantly – my landline will cease to work on Friday 31st May.  Please from now on use my cellphone for all phone calls – that’s 027 2808546.


Essential HR are still here to help.  For ongoing help call Mike directly on 027 2808546 or


I’m happy for you to pass this on to others.


And if you need to conference call, I am all set up with Zoom or teams.  And I have no difficulty obtaining a private meeting room where needed.

Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

Keeping You Posted

30 May 2024

Essential Update May 2024

Read Now >
11 April 2024

Essential Update - 11th April 2024

Read Now >
10 January 2024

Essential Update - First update of 2024

Read Now >