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Probationary Period

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 7 Nov 2019 | 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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I started a job 3 years ago was told i was on a probation period I completed this. I then left the company a year ago due to wage problems the company asked me to go back a month ago. I was taken into hospital on Tuesday morning so I missed 2days work went back today completed my day went back to the office and was told having 2days off during a probation period meant i failed and today was my last day. I was not told i was on probation when I started. Can my employer do this?
Jj - 7-Nov-19 @ 7:02 PM
Hi i am a seasonal employee and have been in my current position for 9 months I have just been told I am not being kept on over winter but instead somone who has only been in the same seasonal position for 3 weeks is being kept on. Is this aloud as they will still be on the 3 month probation??
Jay - 11-Sep-19 @ 10:06 AM
Hiya. I need some help. I work as a community carer. I’m still under the 3 month probation. They are expecting me to return my uniform and pay for it? I need help is this correct can they do this?
Dem - 3-Sep-19 @ 3:29 PM
Hiya. I’m a bit stuck. I work as a community carer. Im still on my 3 month probation. I have advised I’m leaving as have given 1 weeks notice. They want me to return my uniform to them and pay for my uniform? Is this correct?
Mil - 3-Sep-19 @ 3:28 PM
Hello. I started a manager position for a company with a 3month probationary period. I am 3 months in and this has been extended by a further 3 months for not the best reasons shall we say... If I were to leave this business could I only leave after 4 weeks (even though I have signed a document saying after 4 weeks employment the notice period is 3 months) Thank you
pauliousprime - 25-Mar-19 @ 8:10 PM
Hello I was 5.5 weeks into my 6 month probation and told by my manager informally I would pass. I received no meetings assessing my work only prase. The only meeting I had and this is real, minutes were not taken it was I guess a verbal warning - not to talk to the partner who also acted as HR as his girlfriend a woman in her yoind 20s did not like it, so I should stop speaking to him. In no way did I ever flirt with him. This ment I could not approach HR in person. They failed my probation when I came back into the office aftercomfort break. With no notice I was asked to go into a meeting room and they cited that I was not suitable for the job. The job was an accounts assistant and I have 10 years bookkeeping experance with my diploma. I did not receive or be issueda letter 5 days prior, 24 hours notice- nothing. I was marched to my desk by two partners and they watched me clear it out. I requested a copy of the job description that they feel I cannot do and they haven't provided that. In addition i have on tape 3 staff members at my desk whilst this was happening laughing about it and how I'll react (I was taping them as I didn't trust them). In a email received 3 days later it cited I 2as fired for messaging from my personal phone to other people's phones about my mood, day and the atmosphere- to two employees. Next was that I said I was bored? Then how I said I was over qualified ( I was) but I have emails offering to take on additional tasks for no extra money. Another point is that I said I wasn't earning enough, my manager promised me a payrise after 3 months that never happened but my counterpart his girlfriend is / was loudly demanding an 8k payrise. They said tbay i was asking for bonuses for thr mo eh i brought in infront of other people, the company does work on a nonus scheme for half of its staff, its not uncommon for a credit controller to receive a precentage and they on top of the normal bonuses hand out an additional one in feb each year. They also accused me of drug dealing which is ridiculous- I made jokes like someone would say they arnt happy and I would respond with you need some valium. I never handed drugs to staff, I never received money for drugs? I was told leading up to that day I was passing my probation. I have recordings that disprove all of this but do show / you can hear how they stole and are taking their dead grandmothers painkillers codine considered a class c drug if not prescribed to you. Please advise if you think this is fair?
Jenny - 18-Feb-19 @ 5:43 PM
My son was a Christmas temp at the Range retail shop. Yesterday he was fired on the spot, the reasons given were based on a couple of reports from another employee. Although my son no longer wishes to work there, I was wondering if he can ask for a copy of the reasons given for his firing. From what he told me they are extremely minor complaints and a case of the other employees word against his. I have no wish to even attempt any sort of unfair dismissal claim, but if the reasons given are as minor as he has told me I would like to make a formal complaint. Also it has knocked my son's confidence, as he had no idea that he had done anything wrong. At least if we got a copy of the complaints made against him, we could find out what if anything he did wrong and work on it from there.
Fred Bloggs - 26-Oct-18 @ 11:01 PM
Having been working on my probation period my boss asked me to work overtime . I am already working 40hours that week. I said no because I can't get child care plus I'm working 40hours. He has said to me that it will be a black mark against me when my probation period ends. Can he do this?
Sally - 11-Sep-18 @ 12:42 PM
Nik - Your Question:
My son has been offer a part time job for the summer in a local store, they have told him that they will withhold his first 20 hours until after his 3 month probation and if he leaves he won't get that pay.but as he will only be there for under 3 months.is this even legal (employment period aside).

Our Response:
No, in general , your son should be paid for ANY work that he does.Unfortunately until the employer has actually withheld the pay, there isn't much your son can do. He cannot bring a claim on the basis that the employer has merely threatened to deduct wages.
SafeWorkers - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:50 PM
My son has been offer a part time job for the summer in a local store, they have told him that they will withhold his first 20 hours until after his 3 month probation and if he leaves he won't get that pay..but as he will only be there for under 3 months....is this even legal (employment period aside).
Nik - 2-Jul-18 @ 4:07 PM
Mamita - Your Question:
I have signed an agreement that I cannot leave the job during probationary period. But I left the job. Because the company is not paying my salary and there is no work environment and the company is doing mental harrassment Now the company is asking me to join office otherwise they will take legal action. What is the solution

Our Response:
Talk to ACAS. If you are not being paid for work that you have done, it is a matter for an employment tribunal.
SafeWorkers - 29-Jun-18 @ 3:36 PM
I have signed an agreement that i cannot leave the job during probationary period. But i left the job. Because the company is not paying my salary and there is no work environment and the company is doing mental harrassment Now the company is asking me to join office otherwise they will take legal action. What is the solution
Mamita - 29-Jun-18 @ 3:22 AM
Hi, I really need an advice what to do. I found out I'm pregnant and I'm still on my probation period. I will have to tell them company about my pregnancy before the end of my probation. I'm afraid they might release me because of that under some other excuse (even though they would not have to pay me maternity pay, because I'm too short with them to qualify). Also, looks like they are downsizing a lot and maybe would use the opportunity to get rid of me even if I wouldn't be pregnant. I will be in a very difficult financial situation anyway - is there anything I can do to make them pass me through probation and keep me until I go on maternity leave? It would make me financial difference of 3-4months of salary... Please help
Lu - 3-May-18 @ 3:05 PM
Amal - Your Question:
I wanted to know if I could have two months off work. I am on my probationary period and I have to undertake a fulltime placement for uni what are my rights?

Our Response:
You need to ask your employer about this as it will depend on their policy.
SafeWorkers - 20-Apr-18 @ 3:29 PM
I wanted to know if I could have two months off work. I am on my probationary period and I have to undertake a fulltime placement for uni what are my rights?
Amal - 18-Apr-18 @ 6:17 PM
1 and half month into probation. But signed off due to some health conditions. But deciding not to go back due to health and can't work my notice will they still pay me?
Sara - 16-Apr-18 @ 2:49 PM
I went to an induction for a job within a care Agency and I had to give a £20 deposit which I was told towards phone and uniform. I told the coordinator within an hour that I didn't think the job was for me. She persuaded me to stay for the induction. I called her this morning and said I didn't want to work for Company and asked for my £20 back and told I cannot have it as they have enrolled me on an inline training course. So I said ok can I do the online training course and benefit from it and told no we print certificates here at our end. It's the principle of the £20 that's bugging me. Is there anything I can do about this.
Fran - 13-Mar-18 @ 10:54 AM
Oa - Your Question:
Hi, I'm currently 3 weeks into my 3 month probation period but have already decided this job is not for me, if I was to leave before my pay day will I still receive the pay for the hours I've worked? Thanks.

Our Response:
Yes as long as you submit the required notice, you should be paid for all hours worked. If you fail to work your notice, your employer can deduct this from your final payment.
SafeWorkers - 12-Mar-18 @ 12:28 PM
Hi, I'm currently 3 weeks into my 3 month probation period but have already decided this job is not for me, if I was to leave before my pay day will I still receive the pay for the hours I've worked? Thanks.
Oa - 9-Mar-18 @ 12:48 PM
Jakub - Your Question:
Hi. My colleague passed probation period but recently they put him back on probation period. Is it legal to be put back on even after he passed it?

Our Response:
No, you can't simply be put back on a probationary period. If an employee is not working to the required standards, he/she should be dealt with via the usual disciplinary procedures as a full employee.
SafeWorkers - 6-Mar-18 @ 11:31 AM
Hi. My colleague passed probation period but recently they put him back on probation period. Is it legal to be put back on even after he passed it?
Jakub - 3-Mar-18 @ 3:30 PM
Hello, I’ve worked with a company for 8 months now, however, I’ve not had a 6month review or any comfirmation that I have completed my probation or even if it has been extended. I’m now wanting to give in a generous notice period of a month but my manager is arguing that I have to give longer as I’ve worked there 8 months. Should a probation period be comfirmed to the employee once completed?
MissSmiley - 10-Jan-18 @ 7:18 AM
Scottish- Your Question:
HiIm on a 6 month probation period. I'm almost 5 months into it. I would really like to reduce my hours from 39 to 24. due to personal circumstances and childcare issues. Am I entitled to ask for this change whilst still in my probation period? I really want to reduce my hours asap. Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
All employees who have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks are eligible to apply for flexible working (which includes changing the times of work or reducing hours etc). We assume you haven't yet worked for 26 weeks so may have to work a little longer. When you do make the request, bear in mind that your employer does not have to agree to the request but must give it reasonable consideration and offer a valid business reason for refusing.
SafeWorkers - 9-Jan-18 @ 12:24 PM
Hi Im on a 6 month probation period. I'm almost 5 months into it.. I would really like to reduce my hours from 39 to 24.. due to personal circumstances and childcare issues. Am I entitled to ask for this change whilst still in my probation period? I really want to reduce my hours asap. Thanks in advance.
Scottish - 8-Jan-18 @ 12:03 PM
Walshy - Your Question:
Hi I have just recently been dissmissed from on job in the middle of my 6 month probabtion period, I worked a month in advance, will I still be entitled to that if I'm on probabtion period?

Our Response:
Yes you should be paid for any time that you've worked for your employer.
SafeWorkers - 19-Dec-17 @ 10:17 AM
Hi I have just recently been dissmissed from on job in the middle of my 6 month probabtion period, I worked a month in advance, will I still be entitled to that if I'm on probabtion period?
Walshy - 16-Dec-17 @ 11:25 AM
CindiB - Your Question:
I started my current job and was working to a probation of 3 months. The three months passed on 22/11/17. On Monday 4th/12 I was called in for a review, my first, and told they were going to extend my probation for 1 month. The company will be closed for 10 days over Christmas which does not leave me much time to meet the goals set. Where do I stand?

Our Response:
Your employer should really have held your reviewafter 3 months. You may have a case to say that you had assumed you had passed your probationary period successfully as they had not mentioned it at the three month stage.
SafeWorkers - 8-Dec-17 @ 3:50 PM
I started my current job and was working to a probation of 3 months.The three months passed on 22/11/17. On Monday 4th/12 I was called in for a review, my first, and told they were going to extend my probation for 1 month.The company will be closed for 10 days over Christmas which does not leave me much time to meet the goals set.Where do I stand?
CindiB - 6-Dec-17 @ 4:01 PM
Im currently on probabtion period, im on my 3rd day off due to my daughter's nursery been suspended by ofsted. Work have not been supportive and habe said i shouldn't of applied for the job if family commitment got in the way. Ive been looking up and the government website's say you are entitled to emergency time off with dependants. Could they sack me or would it be unfsir dismissal
Shell - 20-Nov-17 @ 10:16 PM
Nazzer - Your Question:
Hi I was working with a company for 16 months (8 months on agency). I was on a 12 month probation period and I was doing great in the job constantly getting emails off my employer to say I'm doing a great job but never brought in for a review so on the 15th of October (storm Irma) I brought up a health and safety issue as I work outdoors I needed ppe and my employer did not provide it. So 2 days later oct 17th I get a phone call 10 mins before my shift ended to say I needed to go back to the office so when I went back to the office I was dismissed immediately for absaloutely no reason he basically said I wasn't a fit for the company and that the company wasn't a fit for me. Note I have that in written and I also have all the compliments iv been getting sent to me saying I was doing a great job is.

Our Response:
There really isn't much you can do about this as long as your employer has followed the correct procedure and the employer has not been in breach of a specific health and safety law.
SafeWorkers - 14-Nov-17 @ 2:48 PM
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