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Probationary Periods


A probationary period can broadly be described as a trial period for new starters, (or for existing employees that you have promoted), in order to see if they are up to the job in practice, and conversely, allows the employee to decide if the role is for them.

The contract of employment and the offer letter must confirm the length of the probationary period.  Its length should be commensurate with the position and how long you think it will take the employee to get to grips with the role.  We would, therefore, recommend that a probationary period is between 3 and 6 months, but that you also have the right to extend the probationary period if you deem this necessary.

Other factors that can be built into the probationary period may be that the notice period required to be given by either party to terminate the employment relationship can be very short - as little as a week - or that certain benefits only become active once the probationary period has been successfully completed.

However, in the event that the probationary period has demonstrated that the new recruit is not the right for the role, then you must still follow a fair dismissal procedure in terminating their employment.

For more detailed advice on the benefits of using probationary periods and how to apply them, contact a member of the HRx  team