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Probationary Period

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Sep 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Probationary Period

Because many companies spend thousands of pounds a year on recruitment and training they need to ensure that they get the right person for the job and whilst assessment tests and interviews will give them a very good idea in terms of assessing the most suitable candidate, they can never really be entirely certain that the person they offer the job to will be the best choice they could have made until the successful applicant starts doing the actually job. After all, there are a couple of factors to consider.

It’s not simply just about how well you can do the job but also if you can Fit in with the Team, which is something that is quite difficult to establish just at interview. Therefore, many companies choose to ask you to work a probationary period before you’re fully made a permanent member of staff or you can be released if they decide they don’t wish to make you permanent.

The Probationary Period

Probationary periods normally last for about 3 to 6 months, sometimes longer, although if it’s a short-term, temporary contract, they can often be much shorter. They are designed to let employers assess how well you’re coping in the job, how you get on with the team and to establish whether or not they want to offer you the job permanently following the completion of the probationary period.

It’s important to remember that it’s not just about assessing whether or not you’re right for the job but also about whether the job’s right for you. The reason being that the company might need to invest heavily in training for you and, if you decide it’s isn’t what you want after all, either upon completion of your training or part the way through and you decide to leave, the company will have wasted their money on the training.

So, unlike a permanent position where you may have to give a month’s notice if you decide to leave or vice versa, the company wishes to give you notice, both parties should have the right to terminate the agreement whenever they choose. However, you’d need to check your contract to see if you’re required to give any notice or vice versa.

If you are going to be subject to working a probationary period, ask the employer to put down the terms of the agreement into an Employment Contract. That way, you’ll know what is expected of you and also the date upon which the agreement ends and you’re either taken on permanently or let go.

Reviews

You’ll probably receive regular reviews throughout your probationary period to give you an idea on how you’re progressing and for you to give feedback on how you’re enjoying the job. It’s also an opportunity for either side to pinpoint any weaknesses or issues, which may be resolved by offering you additional training. This is not meant to be a criticism of your work performance but simply enables the company to take stock and to implement any additional training needs, if need be.

Team leaders and, perhaps, even the HR department too will have a strong influence during your probationary period so it’s important that you realise that these are the people you need to impress if you want to be taken on permanently once it comes to an end. However, providing you understand and deliver upon what’s expected of you, you shouldn’t have any real problems.

Your Rights

In terms of Minimum Wage, holiday pay, health and safety issues and the working time regulations, you are entitled to the same protection during your probationary period as are the permanent members of staff. However, if your boss decides to let you go during this period, you cannot claim unfair dismissal unless it was for reasons to do with harassment or some form of discrimination offence unless your probationary period runs for longer than a year, which is quite unusual.

You shouldn’t panic too much about a probationary period. It does, naturally, mean that you haven’t got as much security in your job initially to enable you to plan finances too far ahead but it is rare that poor performance is cited as the reason you’re not going to be kept on. Usually, a company will offer you advice and, where appropriate, further training in order to get you up to speed as opposed to letting you go for those reasons.

It’s also useful to go into these situations with the right attitude. Tell yourself that providing you do what’s expected of you, there’s going to be a permanent job at the end of it. Yet be philosophical also and if things don’t work out and you are not kept on, remember you’ve earned money during the period and, more importantly perhaps, you’ll have gained more skills to put on a CV, made new contacts and, at the very least, if it goes all wrong, you may be able to say, “I’ve tried that job but it wasn’t for me.”

If you're convinced that you have been unfairly treated during your probation period, then why not investigate more about unfair dismissal?

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Working 4 months into 6m probation period with 1 month notice from employer but I have to give 3 months to employer to leave per contract. On the assumption that I wish to leave (potentially prior to probation not being extended) - If I give my notice and am prepared to work the 3 months then am I entitled to do this (or negotiate Pay in Lieu) ?
Filly - 22-Sep-16 @ 12:50 PM
Truly - Your Question:
I have worked for a company for one week and half, in fact actually training only really, I'm obviously in my probation all period, my contract states 1 week notice. I have two shifts in my 1 weeks notice, nobody has communicated with me after giving in my notice.Will I be expected to complete those shifts, as I really don't want to return.

Our Response:
Unless you hear otherwise from your employer, yes you will be expected to work your notice period.
SafeWorkers - 21-Sep-16 @ 11:23 AM
I have worked for a company for one week and half, in fact actually training only really, I'm obviously in my probation all period, my contract states 1 week notice. I have two shifts in my 1 weeks notice, nobody has communicated with me after giving in my notice. Will I be expected to complete those shifts, as I really don't want to return.
Truly - 19-Sep-16 @ 11:42 AM
I competed 6 months probationary period ( one months notice either way) on the 18th July 2016. On the 25th July I was signed off on the sick with chest pain which has taken 7 weeks to be managed. I formally advised my company on Wednesday 7th Sept that I was fit for work on Monday 12th Sept 2016. My MD phoned me on the 9th Sept saying that my position was at risk of redundancy as there was no other work for me after this contract in my current Job Role. If I am made redundant, as my company never advised me that my probationary period had been successfully completed or extended it during my probationary period, will It be deemed that I had passed my probationary period by default and will therefore be entitled to a 3 months notice period as per my contract?
SMOGGY - 13-Sep-16 @ 12:28 PM
Hi. On 6 months probation and two months in been signed 4 weeks plus as just diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and medication is horrendous and side effects are making me very very sick. Not sure when I will be back and just had call from the agency who placed me applying pressure.Not sure if company wants me back. Where do I stand.
Perdy1410 - 31-Aug-16 @ 11:43 AM
I have come to the end of my probation period I have had a meeting with hr I was employed as a deputy manager but for the last 3 weekshave been dismissed from any of my dutysoutlined for me and been given basic jobs the person from HR is meeting with my manager next week do I have to give notice to end my job as I feel I have already been dismissed and feel my employment is going to end shortly and am I entitled to the full month salaryI started with as I have worked the hour required of me
Leona06 - 28-Aug-16 @ 6:40 PM
What could it mean if your probation period is moved forward?
Ddd - 10-Aug-16 @ 5:21 PM
Worked as an agency worker for 3 months was made permanent after many compliments of good work.Two months after being made permanentwas diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.I went for a operation a month after my diagnosis and return to work a month later.Worked normal duties until was slowly taken off my duties a bit at a time.On the end of my probation period I was immediately dismissed at told to leave without an explanation.Two days after my dismissal I received an e-mail stating the grounds of my dismissal was due to poor performance and as it was the end of my probation they no longer wished to employ me.After I appealed against this decision the company have advised that they did not dismiss me due to my cancer but my poor performance.I was never once told that they were unhappy with my performance.I did not even get a chance to rectify any alleged performance issues they had.Any advise would be welcomed.
Rdk - 29-Jul-16 @ 4:06 PM
My partner has had a lot of problems at work and with the way he was treated by the other 2 staff which ace lead to him being signed off sucker for depression, I am due to give birth soon and he had completed his 3 month probation and was in his 2nd week of being employed by the company but was signed off sick on the 15th he put his sick note through the door as no body was in but no one contacted him to see how things were instead he was sent 5 days later a letter of termination to his employment and his sick note the letter only stated that his employment would cease on the day of the letter being written so no notice due to unsatisfactory probation but he had completed this and was under employment by this time and they hadn't said anything until his dr signed him off. Another problem was I phoned them when I had to get to the hospital due to pains with baby and I could drop anytime they said they would tell him when back from delivery but they didn't mention me at al bad sent him on another delivery even further away also telling him he was no longer allowed to have his phone on him and to leave it in the car thankfully he didn't and I was finally able to reach him but I had already hadto walk to hospital and back all his work could say was oh we forgot.
Loyal bell - 27-Jul-16 @ 12:01 AM
Hi. Asking on behalf of my husband who is very highly trained and experienced in what he does. He started a new job with a 6 month probation period. There has been LOTS of incidence where the fleet manager (who is less qualified and experienced than my husband) was bullying and shouting and harrassing my husband, even ringing after work hours. My husband has had enough and approached the M.D to verbalise his concerns. He said he was willing to draw a line under it all and start again with the fleet manager if he stopped the bullying. The M.D spoke to manager and at the end of the day my husband got sacked with immediate effect and although the M.D did not agree with the manager, my husband lost his job. My husband was only 3 months into the probation period and had lots of forward thinking ideas etc that would bring the company into this century save them a fortune, the fleet manager poo poo'd all his ideas. Has my husband got any grounds for some sort of unfair dismissal etc? Im not sure as it was a probation period. But it is disgusting that he complained about a bully and got sacked for it. 2 employers previous already because of this one fleet manager earlier this year! Thankyou
blu??angel - 20-Jul-16 @ 11:31 PM
Hi i start working 2 months ago as a head hsk.my salary was fix 21000 pa.i hâd proba?iune time 3 months,Bu? in last Weekend my seria manager change.....Because one day i hâd day Off and i have to go At work and i Take my baby girl with me she is 1 year,i did t have with Why to let her in the last moment.this was her reason Because i room the baby with me and Because i Diddy put one personal in the timesheet as sick...Bu? that person Didnt call me Did not sendme Any sick note from dr.and she is sick long time....after she call me and just Say you terminate Tofan on the Phoen.i Dont think is fare for me.can i have your opinionion please.
Gabi - 31-May-16 @ 12:36 PM
I Have taken a job with a 6 months probation period which includes a months notice period, 4 months in to the role and the salary is not enough for the role, do I approach the subject in the probation period or Waite and see if I'm offered the role permanatley and approach the subject then, If I decline the permanent role at the end of the probation period do I still have to give a months notice
Shell Bell - 26-May-16 @ 6:58 PM
Oxford - Your Question:
Dear ExpertsThis is a great website and get lots of information.My job offer letter says I am on 6 months probationary period. But they never mentioned about any notice period within probationary period. I would like to request help from our forum experts. I posted my questions below. Thanks--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Statement From my job offer letterNotice and termination of employment :You (employee) are required to give 3 calendar months notice in writing for your intention to terminate your employment.You are entitled to receive 12 weeks notice in total from employer in the event of termination of employment.These rights may be terminated by mutual agreement or summary dismissal.----------------------------------------------------------QUESTIONS1. They didn't mention anything about notice period in probationary period.Do I need to give 3 months notice?2. What is 3 calendar months notice? Is it different from 3 months notice?

Our Response:
If there is no specific notice period for your probationary period then the notice period above will apply. 3 calendar months will be the same as 3 months.
SafeWorkers - 16-May-16 @ 10:21 AM
Dear Experts This is a great website and get lots of information. My job offer letter says I am on 6 months probationary period. But they never mentioned about any notice period within probationary period. I would like to request help from our forum experts. I posted my questions below. Thanks -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Statement From my job offer letter Notice and termination of employment : You (employee) are required to give 3 calendar months notice in writing for your intention to terminate your employment. You are entitled to receive 12 weeks notice in total from employer in the event of termination of employment. These rights may be terminated by mutual agreement or summary dismissal. ---------------------------------------------------------- QUESTIONS 1. They didn't mention anything about notice period in probationary period.Do I need to give 3 months notice? 2. What is 3 calendar months notice? Is it different from 3 months notice?
Oxford - 13-May-16 @ 7:13 AM
TrafficLight - Your Question:
I was taken on by the CEO o f a charity as a Fundraising Manager on a salary of £30,000 plus a company car. At the same time as me another person was hired as my line manager on a slightly higher salary plus company car. There was no issue with this and we all got along. I was given a 121 by this person, 4 weeks into the job and she said she wanted to review the fundraising team (3 incl myself) job roles. She then asked us all what we would like to do and said we would be given new job descriptions each at our next meeting in the middle of April but there would be no surprises. The day of the meeting, we all gathered including the CEO and we were presented with 4 job descriptions and told we all had to reapply. The only job I could go for has a £3,000 less salary top band and no car plus no guarantee I will be put on the top band anyway. Where do I stand. Also found out they are getting in a Fundraising Consultancy at £400 per day despite saying the reason for the review is lack of money. I refuse to be humiliated at the interview next week by someone who has less experience than me and after I had already had two interviews with this charity and started a new job with a signed contract. My line manager has already said that it will depend if she thinks my skills fit the criteria for the job I am going for if I actually get the job or not plus the salary scale she thinks I should be on. To add more insult to injury we both colaborated on a Fundraising & Marketing Strategy which she said after she got mine that it would not be used and sure enough the 40 page strategy she has put her name too has my recommendations in it. I feel I have been shafted especially as I had 3 other interviews lined up when I took this job.

Our Response:
You should complain to the board of directors/trustees or other managers higher up in the employee chain. It doesn't sound right that you can be taken on and your contract terms changed within such a short space of time, but there is not enough information for us to give really good advice here.
SafeWorkers - 4-May-16 @ 11:55 AM
I was taken on by the CEO o f a charity as a Fundraising Manager on a salary of £30,000 plus a company car.At the same time as me another person was hired as my line manager on a slightly higher salary plus company car.There was no issue with this and we all got along.I was given a 121 by this person, 4 weeks into the job and she said she wanted to review the fundraising team (3 incl myself) job roles. She then asked us all what we would like to do and said we would be given new job descriptions each at our next meeting in the middle of April but there would be no surprises.The day of the meeting, we all gathered including the CEO and we were presented with 4 job descriptions and told we all had to reapply. The only job I could go for has a £3,000 less salary top band and no car plus no guarantee I will be put on the top band anyway. Where do I stand.Also found out they are getting in a Fundraising Consultancy at £400 per day despite saying the reason for the review is lack of money. I refuse to be humiliated at the interview next week by someone who has less experience than me and after I had already had two interviews with this charity and started a new job with a signed contract. My line manager has already said that it will depend if she thinks my skills fit the criteria for the job I am going for if I actually get the job or not plus the salary scale she thinks I should be on.To add more insult to injury we both colaborated on a Fundraising & Marketing Strategy which she said after she got mine that it would not be used and sure enough the 40 page strategy she has put her name too has my recommendations in it.I feel I have been shafted especially as I had 3 other interviews lined up when I took this job.
TrafficLight - 1-May-16 @ 4:40 PM
Jello - Your Question:
I worked for a company for 2 weeks after which I was called in for what I thought was an update meeting but turned out to be a dismissal. I was told I was not the right fit for the job. They did not think I would fit with the team. I did say I had asperger's so if there were any misunderstandings then I apologise. I was then told it was too late. Is this allowed? I had no warnings, no comment on performance just this 1 meeting.

Our Response:
If you're formally diagnosed with aspergers, this is classed as a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. If you feel you employer has dismissed you because of your aspergers (rather than something else), then it would be worth contacting ACAS for advice.
SafeWorkers - 6-Apr-16 @ 2:40 PM
I worked for a company for 2 weeks after which I was called in for what I thought was an update meeting but turned out to be a dismissal. I was told I was not the right fit for the job. They did not think I would fit with the team. I did say I had asperger's so if there were any misunderstandings then I apologise. I was then told it was too late. Is this allowed? I had no warnings, no comment on performance just this 1 meeting.
Jello - 4-Apr-16 @ 1:42 PM
If I am in a probationary period and want to leave the company, is there a legal amount of time I have to give? My contract says 12 weeks (which I still haven't signed and returned 8 weeks into my job) I'm under the understanding that the 12 weeks only applies when out of the probationary period? Any help appreciated
GetMeOut - 31-Mar-16 @ 7:39 AM
CT - Your Question:
If an employee is on probation and the first two references came back ok, when started job, but then hear there could have been a prev problem/alligation, so request a further reference and all they will provide is dates and the fact there was an investigation, with no details, but wouldn't have employed her on the reference, do we still have to continue with her probation? Or are we able to end her employment? Thanks

Our Response:
That's entirely for you to decide as an employer. If the job was offered subject to satisfactory references then it's your chose as to whether you consider them to be "satisfactory" for your purposes.
SafeWorkers - 16-Mar-16 @ 2:17 PM
If an employee is on probation and the first two references came back ok, when started job, but then hear there could have been a prev problem/alligation, so request a further reference and all they will provide is dates and the fact there was an investigation, with no details, but wouldn't have employed her on the reference, do we still have to continue with her probation? Or are we able to end her employment? Thanks
CT - 15-Mar-16 @ 9:14 PM
Hi I have been in a job for just over two months I haven't had the training that was promised at the interview I feel I can't fully do the job the standards that's expected and is getting very stressful .I would like to look for other employment but I am concerned about how this would lookon my cv only working with the employer for less than three months my previous work history had been continuous I was in my last job for over three years.I would appreciate some advise please?
Becky - 2-Mar-16 @ 8:31 PM
GG - Your Question:
I completed a little less than a year of employment including a 6 month probation period with a company. I left for another employment opportunity that did not pan out. I want to go back to the company but want to know if they will require me to complete another 3-6 month probation period. Please advise. Thank you!

Our Response:
That is entirely up to the employer in question as there are no rules about this.
SafeWorkers - 22-Feb-16 @ 2:04 PM
I would like to leave me role during my probation period. I have been there for only 3 weeks. I signed my contract only a week ago. In my contract it says I must give 3 months notice. 3 months seems excessive amount of time. What are my rights? This is in the UK
Jimmy - 20-Feb-16 @ 11:42 AM
I completed a little less than a year of employment including a 6 month probation period with a company. I left for another employment opportunity that did not pan out. I want to go back to the company but want to know if they will require me to complete another 3-6 month probation period. Please advise. Thank you!
GG - 19-Feb-16 @ 5:08 PM
My 19 year old son left his job to start a career as a trainee car sales manager, he was given a start letter and a handbook, misjudged the journey, didn't realise he couldn't park on site, and was late to work the first three mornings, which he didn't think was a problem as he never took a lunch break and no one mentioned it was a problem, on the third day the director was in and said if he was late tomorrow he'd sack him, he got up 2 hrs early to make sure he was on time, he got there in plenty of time.But the director instructed his manager sack him anyway.He was called in the office and sacked his manager said theycouldn't rely on him getting to work on time as he lived to far away. He said he could get in on time and had proved that today and was prepared to leave 2 hrs earlier every day to keep his job.The sacked him and sent him home there and then.He was on 3 months probation. Is there anything he can do, and what is he entitled to?
Law - 11-Feb-16 @ 5:05 PM
Deskdriver - Your Question:
I have a contract that the "Probationary period is 6 months and you will only have passed your probation once advised in writing regardless if the 6 month period has passed"I've been in this position 7 months now and despite repeated requests I've heard nothing, however I've heard a rumor they're trying to employ a cheaper alternative to me and thats possibly the cause of the delay. My question is Will I qualify for the 1 month notice in the contract or will I have to accept the 1 week in probation notice period?

Our Response:
This clause sounds as though it would have no legal credibility if challenged. You might want to question the validity of it with your employer or give ACAS a call on 0300 123 1100
SafeWorkers - 20-Jan-16 @ 2:46 PM
I havea contract that the "Probationary period is 6 months and you will only have passed your probation once advised in writing regardless if the 6 month period has passed" I've been in this position 7 months now and despite repeated requests I've heard nothing, however I've heard a rumorthey're trying to employ a cheaper alternative to me and thats possibly the cause of the delay. My question is Will I qualify for the 1 month notice in the contract or will I have to accept the 1 week in probation notice period?
Deskdriver - 20-Jan-16 @ 1:39 PM
Hi, I was on my last day of my probation and my manager called me on the phone and told me they were extending my probation by 3 month. She also stated I was to recieve 2 weekly review meetings to make sure I meet standards, i have not had any meetings and the extension is due to end in 7 days. Can they fire me if they havent kept to their agreement?My last written evidence was 2 months into my initial probation saying how pleased she was with my work?I havenot recieved any letter statring reasons for extension. I want to be prepared for the dismissal if it happens.
Gem - 14-Jan-16 @ 6:40 AM
I started a new job 2 weeks ago & after the first week I had to go sick due to hurting my back. The job isn't for me & im on a trial period for 3 months. Do I need to give notice as I want to leave asap ?
Jules70 - 14-Jan-16 @ 3:01 AM
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