Probationary Employment Policy
A probation period is a defined period during which a new employee is required to demonstrate the skills, behaviour and competencies necessary for continuing in their role at [the Company].
The purpose of the probation period is to:
- give the employee an opportunity to assess whether or not their role with [the Company] meets their personal requirements and expectations;
- give [the Company] an opportunity to review and evaluate the employee’s suitability for the role to which they have been employed; and
- provide the opportunity to address (including through management and training) any deficiencies in performance or conduct.
SCOPE OF POLICY
All new employees (full time, part time or fixed term employees in which the term is 12 months or more) hired by the Company will be subject to a probation period.
LENGTH OF THE PROBATION PERIOD
The duration of a probation period will be set out in an employee’s letter of offer or contract of employment.
The standard probation period for the Company’s employees will be 6 months commencing from the employee’s first day of employment. However, the standard probation period may be varied to a period less than 6 months under the employee’s letter of offer or contract of employment.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT DURING THE PROBATION PERIOD
During the probation period, the employee will receive the same entitlements as they would receive in their ordinary course of employment.
Nothing in this policy should be taken to alter or fetter the Company’s right to dismiss the employee:
- Summarily (that is, without notice) in the case of misconduct; or
with notice (as provided in the employee’s letter of offer, contract of employment or applicable industrial instrument) at any time for any reason.
THE PROBATION PERIOD PROCESS
On commencement of employment
When the employee commences employment with the Company they will attend an initial meeting with their supervisor or manager to discuss the Company’s expectations and requirements of the role, which would generally include:
- duties, activities and responsibilities of the role;
- KPIs (if applicable);
- reporting arrangements; and
- proposed approach to review and evaluation of performance and conduct during the probation period (including discussing the terms of this Probationary Employment Policy and arranging planned probationary meetings (see further below)).
Review of performance and conduct
The supervisor/manager should endeavour to review and evaluate the employee’s performance and conduct on a regular basis including providing regular feedback to the employee where practicable.
Additionally, planned probationary meetings should be arranged. At least three planned probationary meetings would normally be arranged during the probationary period.
First meeting: the supervisor/manager should meet with the employee after the first month of service to discuss performance and conduct (including any identified areas of improvement). Notes of this meeting should be taken and kept on the employee’s personnel file.
Where performance or conduct issues requiring improvement have been identified, if the supervisor/manager considers appropriate, an improvement plan should be implemented covering:
required employee improvement action and timeframe to achieve improvement; and
any steps to be taken by the supervisor/manager to assist the employee improve and attain an acceptable standard of performance and conduct (including providing employee training).
Second meeting: a further meeting to discuss performance and conduct should be held after 3 months’ service.
Where performance or conduct issues requiring improvement have been identified, an improvement plan should be implemented (see 5.5 above).
Third meeting: A final meeting should be planned for between 1 and 2 weeks prior to the expiration of the employee’s probationary period.
The Company should be in a position to determine during or following this meeting whether:
- the employee’s performance and conduct is at least considered satisfactory warranting continued employment following the expiration of the probationary period; or
- the employee’s performance or conduct is unsatisfactory or the employee is otherwise considered unsuitable for the position, in which case employment will cease at or before the expiration of the probationary period.
If the Company is not considering progressing the employee’s employment past the probation period, the employee should be informed of, and given a reasonable opportunity to address, all unfavourable reasons and material that the Company is intending to take into account to terminate the employee’s employment on or before the expiration of the probationary period. In order to facilitate a response during the meeting, the supervisor/manager may give the employee notice of any adverse material and reasons before the meeting, especially if the employee is unlikely to be aware of this information when raised at the meeting.
Where a probation period is less than 6 months, the Company may in its sole discretion give consideration to extending the probation period to 6 months as an alternative to termination of employment on or before expiration of the probation period. Any supervisor/manager considering recommending this course must consult with the Human Resources Department before pursuing this course.
Where serious performance or conduct issue(s) have been identified
Where serious performance or conduct issues have been identified or otherwise the circumstances so warrant, the supervisor/manager should bring these matters to the employee’s attention immediately, and not simply wait to raise them at a planned probationary review meeting (see above). Notes of any discussion or meeting should be kept and placed on the employee’s personnel file.
The supervisor/manager should endeavour to make the employee is aware of the seriousness of the situation and that if their performance or conduct does not improve their employment may not continue past the probationary period. It would be prudent to confirm this in writing with the employee.
It would be expected that an improvement plan (see 5.5 above) would be implemented in these circumstances.
Proposed planned probationary meetings (outlined above) may need to be varied to accommodate the terms of an improvement plan.
Where serious misconduct of an employee is established, summary dismissal (that is, dismissal without notice) may be pursued whether or not an improvement plan has been implemented. Before an employee is notified of summary dismissal, the Human Resources Department should be consulted.
Free Probationary Employment Policy Template
Download this free Probationary Employment Policy template to align your new employees on how the probationary employment policy works in your organisation.