Kate Wilkinson MP
National Party Industrial Relations Spokeswoman
11 September 2008
Embarrassed EPMU seeks to mislead
National Party Industrial relations spokeswoman Kate Wilkinson says the Labour-affiliated EPMU must be embarrassed by
news that it supports probationary periods for new employees but attacks them for small business.
“The next Labour Party president, Andrew Little, has sought to defend his union’s embarrassing double standard by again
attempting to misrepresent National’s carefully considered 90-day probationary employment period.”
Mr Little’s main claim is that he opposes a ‘no rights’ policy.
“Well, so do we. Mr Little should read National’s policy. We are moving to protect workers who agree to a 90-Day
probation period from bad faith practices. The policy will be restricted to businesses with fewer than 20 staff.”
National’s policy says that during the trial period, either party may terminate the employment relationship for
performance, without a personal grievance claim being brought.
“But personal grievance provisions would still apply for matters not related to performance. Good-faith provisions will
apply, as will rights to sick leave, holidays, and health and safety provisions. Rules of natural justice and human
rights legislation will be enforced and mediation will be available in disputes.
“New Zealand is almost the only country in the OECD that does not have a probationary period for new employees, which
employers might consider risky at first glance.
“This is an effort by National to give opportunities to people who might not otherwise be given a chance to get on the
employment ladder. Clearly the EPMU thinks probationary periods are useful, otherwise they wouldn’t be using them.”