You’ve just scored that great new job. Congratulations! But then you discover your new employer wants to put you “on trial”…for 90 days.

Fear not! With the help of our “top tips”, the 90-day trial period needn’t feel like the bogeyman lurking in your employment agreement.

Time is on your side

The employer must give you sufficient time and opportunity to consider a trial period, and seek advice, before you sign on the dotted line.

They can’t put you on trial after you’ve started

A trial period clause can’t be inserted into your employment agreement after you set foot through the door. And a trial period clause is invalid if both parties haven’t signed the written employment agreement, containing the clause, before ‘day one’.

90 days – more or less?

You might not realise, but the trial period can be shorter (but not longer) than 90 days. If you don’t like the idea of 90 days, you can try negotiating a shorter period with your employer.

In our view, though, a 90-day period is best for both you and them, as it’s a suitable period for you to get to know each other properly.

It’s important to note that a trial period, once fixed, can’t be extended.

It’s 90 calendar days

Weekends and statutory days are included in your trial period. So mark the end date on your calendar!

Always get legal advice

Great advice in itself, but what if you don’t have the readies to pay by-the-hour for an employment lawyer? Well, the community law office is a great place to start – it’s free and extremely useful. Find your local community law office here

Your notice period stands, if things change

If you are dismissed within the trial period, your employer must allow you the full notice period outlined in your employment agreement. Don’t accept anything less.

Know your rights

A 90 day trial period can only be used if the organisation has 19 employees or less. For any employee that has 20 or more staff, they cannot legally include a trial period in your employment contact.

If your employer dismisses you without telling you why, you have the right to ask. The employer must act in good faith, although they don’t have to give you a reason in writing. You also have the right to mediation services if you need them, and you can’t be dismissed on grounds that are discriminatory – but we recommend you seek legal advice to fully understand what this means.

We hope you find our “top tips” on the 90-day trial useful. Please let us know if you’d like more help: we’re always happy to be a sounding board at any time, to help point you in the right direction.

Good luck with that job!
Kirsty and Nikki

The 90-Day Trial Period (Employer)