Saturday 12 January 2013

Probation Period

Probation is a status given to new employees of a company, varying widely between businesses - lasting anywhere from 30 days to an entire year (‘usually’ 3 months). If the new employee does well during the probationary time, they are usually removed from probationary status (can often be BEFORE the end of the previously agreed period) and given a raise, ‘full’ status and / or other company privileges (keys to the executive toilets maybe).

Conversely, the probationary period also allows an employer to terminate an employee who is determined not to be doing well at their job or otherwise deemed not suitable for a particular position. Some companies have an at will policy, which allows a company manager to terminate an employee at any point during the probationary period.
The ‘probationary’ status allows the hiring manager time to closely evaluate the progress and skills of the newly hired worker; determining appropriate assignments and / or monitoring other aspects of the employee interaction with co-workers / customers.

During the probationary period, the employer is also entitled to increase or extend your probationary period, particularly if their performance is below a set standard or for disciplinary reasons. In this instance, the employee is usually given a period of time to either improving their performance or modifies their behaviour before more severe measures are used. In this case, the use of a ‘personal development plan’ or ‘performance improvement plan (PIP)’ may help so that the key areas of improvement required can be documented / shared / discussed / agreed.
Remember, being on a probationary period doesn't make you a second-class employee. Your Employment starts from your original start date, not from the date at the end of your probationary period (when you are ‘confirmed’ in the job). Your length of service - which is essential in determining your eligibility for statutory employment rights - starts from your original start date and is not affected by the probationary period AND, you retain the right not to be unfairly dismissed.

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