I had a call the other day from an upset employee. He told me he had been dismissed by his employer using the 90-day trial period available to smaller employers. They are a small company and at time of his dismissal employed five people, so now they are down to four.
When he sent me his letter of dismissal it told him they had monitored his performance over the last couple of weeks and found it not to be up to the standard they would want, so he was dismissed per the 90-day trial clause. It also told him they had partly made the decision as a result of loss of work and revenue due to Covid 19. He was told as he was their highest paid employee this was also a factor.
When I was provided with his IEA it unfortunately makes no mention of a 90-day trail. We are all aware or should be that the 90 trial must be in writing. So, the employer in this case can’t rely on the trial period as an avenue for dismissal.
In addition, a search of the list of employers who have claimed the Covid wage subsidy show that this employer had claimed for all five full time employees sometime after he had been dismissed. Either this was an error or just plain fraud, by claiming for five employees when they only had four.
In brief then not only do they find themselves on the wrong side of an unjustified dismissal claim. They have left themselves open to scrutiny from the Govt re the wage’s subsidy scheme. It clearly states that the subsidy is for 12 weeks and they expect that the employer retains the people it claimed for, for that period.
Why do some employers insist on trying to flout the system is it genuine ignorance, or are they just trying to give it a go?
Take advice people, speak to your accountant about the best way to do this financially. Speak to an ER specialist, talk to the EMA or check the Covid website at www.covid19.govt.nz... but don’t just fly solo.
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