Sophie Ryan is a Business Herald digital journalist.

Government 'own goal' by ignoring 90-day trial evidence

EPMU protestors at a 2006 rally protesting against a 90-day trial period for workers. Research shows the new rules have had little effect - either positive or negative. Photo / Ross Setford
EPMU protestors at a 2006 rally protesting against a 90-day trial period for workers. Research shows the new rules have had little effect - either positive or negative. Photo / Ross Setford

The Government has scored an 'own goal' by dismissing a study around 90-day trial period that used data collected by a multi-million dollar Government database, The New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) said.

Treasury-funded research conducted by Motu found no statistically significant increasing in hiring by employers following the introduction of the 90-day trial periods in 2009.

Prime Minister John Key said advice from Treasury and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials was that the policy had been worthwhile - and he received constant feedback saying as much.

"You can have a piece of academic research but it's quite different from the small cafe owner whose money is on the line, who is taking the risks and who actually rely on this kind of policy," Key said.

"We are very comfortable that the law is working, we think it is effective, and we just fundamentally disagree with the research."

NZAS president Craig Stevens asked Key to consider the implications of undermining his Government's own big data.

"The Government has invested millions of dollars to construct a database that
tracks the performance of every business and every employee in New Zealand but for New Zealanders to benefit from this investment, the Prime Minister needs to be prepared to listen to what the data says.

"By dismissing the results of Motu's study as 'academic' and resorting to anecdote
to justify the policy instead, the Prime Minister undermines his Government's stewardship of New Zealanders' private data."

Sharon Davies, managing director of Talent Propeller, recruitment technology company said the notion the trial period makes it easier to dismiss workers who don't meet the mark was wrong.

"The implied notion that the law change would allow employers who are more willing to take risks in hiring would increase jobs is false," Davies said.

"If you have not followed all the correct steps in the dismissal process, you are still likely to end up paying out large sums of money to someone who may have falsified their CV or exaggerated their experience."

Read the full Motu research here:

- NZ Herald

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