The 90-day trial will go and meal breaks will return for most Kiwi employees under changes to the employment law brought in by the new Government.

The Government will ban 90-day trial periods for any business with more than 19 employees as part of the overhaul.

The controversial fire-at-will scheme, introduced by the last government, gave employers the right to dismiss workers without cause during a 90-day trial period.

Other employers will be able to access “probationary” periods, which have more controls on them than trial periods. While workers in probationary periods can still be fired at the end of the period, employers must have a fair reason that they have communicated to the employee.

The end of 90-day trials was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the first part of a legislative overhaul of employment laws, which mostly roll back changes to employment law brought in by the last National government.

Labour campaigned on letting employees fired during trial periods challenge the decision with a referee service and gain a maximum $5000 payout, but this policy did not survive coalition talks.

The legislation will be introduced on Monday, and will have its first reading in early February.

It will also restore employee rights for rest and meal breaks, which were reduced in 2015.

“Good employment law strikes a balance between employers and workers. Under the previous Government the balance tipped away from fair working conditions for workers. We will restore that balance,” Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said.

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