Half of employers surveyed by the Employers & Manufacturers Association have decided to use the 90-day trial periods when they become available in April and 8 per cent have decided not to. The others are considering their options.

Under the Employment Relations Amendment Act passed by Parliament this year from April 1, 2011, the 90-day trial period provisions will be available to every employer.

The survey also showed 17 per cent of employers were planning to hire staff next year and 35 per cent say they probably will.

Just 11 per cent may look at making people redundant. Last year 51 per cent of respondents gave a zero wage increase whereas this year only 11 per cent did not increase wages. Collective bargaining settlements averaged 2.1 per cent. There has been a shift from one-year collective agreements to two years as companies tried to remove the threat of strike action in Rugby World Cup year.