A probation period is used to evaluate if a new employee is suitable for a role and if they are meeting performance requirements.

Depending on the nature of the role, three to six months is a reasonable time for a probation period. Probation periods may be extended if an organisation feels they still need to assess performance.

Companies must follow a fair process when dismissing an employee on probation. Probation is NOT a way to bring someone on for a fixed period and then dismiss them. The company needs to ensure that areas of poor performance have been addressed and any training, mentoring and/or counseling required has been provided during the probation period.

Before dismissing an employee on probation, check that:
– the employee was on probation for a reasonable period of time.
– performance was managed and documented with regular feedback.
– training was provided, if necessary.
– the employee was given an opportunity to improve performance.
– there is a fair reason for dismissal.

Always include a probation period clause in employment contracts.

Did you know?
A probation period may be used on a recently promoted employee to assess performance.