Everything you need to know about Probation Periods.

You have probably heard of a probationary period and what Probation Periods are; you’ve more than likely come across the term probationary period when reading your contract or throughout your probation meetings. You know that you have to ‘pass’ your probation to progress and continue in your role, but have you ever thought about why a probationary period is so essential for an employee and a business?

Probationary periods help protect the business in the first few months of a new hire and are also put in place to benefit the employee. Want to know more? We’re going to outline why probation periods should not be overlooked!

1. Make sure employers have made the right recruitment decision.

Even if an employer has interviewed a person a few times and is set on them for a role, probation periods help ensure they have 100% made the right decision in their recruitment. Interviews are often too short to gauge a person’s true persona and intentions within the business. Hiring someone is usually based upon first impressions; the actual guesswork when it comes to a new hire is during their probation period (typically a few months long). During the initial few months of an employee’s time within the business, employers get to know the employee below the surface level, and an employer gets to watch them carry out their job and the roles within it!

2. Probation periods hold the right to protection in the case of unfair dismissal.

Just because a probation period has less notice doesn’t mean an employee is not protected against unfair dismissal from an employer. Employees are still protected against dismissal for reasons such as disability, age, gender, ethnicity, religion and cultural background, and any harassment that may have occurred. An employee is protected during the probationary process when an employer does not follow the contractual dismissal procedure correctly.

Employees are often dismissed within their probation period for reasons such as:

  • An employee not delivering the skills or performance they promised in the interview.
  • Are a bad fit in terms of the business’s organisational culture.
  • Consistent poor attendance and time-keeping skills.

3. Employees only have to give a weeks notice if they decide the role isn’t for them.

The typical probation period is around two weeks to a month; however, a probation period could be up to three months or even longer, depending on the level of your role and the skills you may have. For example, if a role encompasses many skills at a high level, then a probationary period may be longer to ensure the employee is the best for the position. However, a probation period can be extended depending on circumstances; this must be communicated in writing before the end of the probation period, as well as explaining why the probation period has been extended and what is extended and what is expected of the employee going forward.

If an employee makes the decision that the business isn’t right for them and they want to leave, then during the probation period they only have to give the employer a weeks notice unless stated otherwise within their contract.


Are you an employer unsure how your business’s Probationary Policy should look? Have a look at this valuable template for an idea Probationary Period Policy Template | Workable