With the changes to the 90 day trial period coming into effect on 6th May, conversations have resurfaced about the effectiveness of using probationary periods as an alternative.
Certainly, there is merit in using them but it should be done with caution.
The intent of a probationary period is to assess an employee’s skill set for a particular position – this means that (unlike the 90 day trial period), it can be used for an ex-employee coming back into the organisation or for a current employee moving into a new role.
However, there are some things to keep in mind regarding a probationary period:
- you must still follow a fair process, requiring you to outline concerns, hear the employee’s viewpoint and provide adequate time to improve
- the employee can still raise a personal grievance
- the onus in on the employer to provide adequate training & support to enable the employee to succeed in the role
The big difference between a trial period and a probationary period is that employees dismissed under probationary periods would still be able to claim for unjustified dismissal.
This essentially means that the same robust process has to be applied to address performance issues or misconduct as it would if the person was 12 months into their employment and issues were happening – there’s no short cut to termination.
So, my advice, use with caution!
Tags: employment agreements, hr policies