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  • Sally Brandon

Let's talk about Probationary Periods and why using them carefully is so important

Updated: Jan 18

Did you know that since April 2020 your contracts of employment need to detail if your employee has a probationary period.

Did you know that probationary periods only occur once in your employees time working with you. This means you cannot add in a probation period if they are changing roles or when they gain a promotion or when you issue a new contract.

Probation periods are a great way to make sure that both the employee and the company are a good fit for each other and should therefore be used carefully.

If your contracts have a clause that probationary periods can be terminated with less time than if the probation period is complete or that the probation period can be extended you need to ensure that these decisions are made in a timely manner and not rushed on the day the probation is due to end.

Depending on the wording the employee could pass their probationary period without you holding a meeting if you do not arrange it in time, or if they are going to be away scheduling the meeting for when they return with confirmation of this followed up in writing.

Avoid what could result is being a costly error (especially if the probation notice is less favourable than once passed probation which it usually is) by:

  • Having regular catch ups with all employees whilst they are new to your business and working in their probation period to discuss how your employee is getting on, praising any work where required and discussing any challenges and support your employee may need. You will then also have have the evidence to support any decision that you make at the end of the probationary period.

  • Be aware of any time off your employee may have booked off within their probation period

  • Book the probation meeting in good time and not on the last day of the probation period.

If you fail to hold the probation review in time or fail to reschedule it, your employee will be entitled to consider that the probation is complete and that the terms of the contract (which are stated to apply post-probation) are now in force.

If you need any support with reviewing your contracts, reviewing probation period or any other HR issues book in a meeting

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