The final step in the hiring process is the probationary period. New employees or those starting a new position will serve a probationary period, ie probation is for newly appointed employees only. The probation period is a the initial period of employment, a kind of “trial period”, during which the employee is observed closely in order to assess his capabilities and to find whether he meets the standards and expectations of the job. His progress and skills are closely observed in order to determine appropriate assignments and other aspects of the employee such as hie honesty, reliability and interactions with co workers and customers is closely monitored. The purpose of probation is to establish whether or not the appointee’s performance is of a acceptable standard before permanently employing him.

Probationary periods or simply probation may vary according to the nature of business involved. The outcome of probationary period can strongly influence the employee’s opportunities, especially with regards to raises, promotions or other work positions. The probationary period and its rules are usually defined in the employee’s contract.

In case of most jobs probation is official. It indicates that although a person is hired the employer wishes to make sure that the person is suitable for the job.

The probation period is also monitored by the human resource department wtr salary during and after probation; notice in case employee wishes to leave etc.

The length of probation differs from job to job, institution to institution. It may be for a few months or a few years. This will depend on the nature of job, which in turn will determine how long it will take to establish whether the employee is performing satisfactorily or not. As a general guideline, the more complex the nature of the job. the longer the probation period eg a month may be enough to evaluate the performance of a cleaner but a few months may be appropriate for an accountant etc.

Probation period may be extended, within reason, where the employer is not convinced that the employee is not performing to the required standard.

Some companies may place permanent employees on probationary status, particularly if their performance is below a set standard or for disciplinary reasons. In such a case, employee is usually given a period of time to either improve their performance or modify their behaviour before more severe measures are taken. The placement of an employee on probationary status is usually at the discretion of their manager.

Types of probation

The employer may require an employee to undergo a probation for various reasons

1] Newly hired employees – A promising new employee may be evaluated to determine their skill set, how they perform and the way they interact with other workers. Outstanding performance may result in a permanent position with the company or a higher wage rate.

2] Promotion – Probation can help determine whether an employee qualifies for a promotion.

3] Poor performance of existing employees – Employees who demonstrate poor performance may undergo probation in order to determine exactly where they are deficient, and how to correct errors.

4] Termination – Probation is often used as grounds for termination. In this type of a situation, probation acts as a last chance for the employee to improve or as a transition period before they are finally terminated.

What are the rights of an employee during probation?

It is advisable that the probationary period be stated in writing [eg as a part of the employment contract or a letter of appointment] and that the company’s expectations during the probationary period be communicated clearly and are understood by the employee. Should the probation be extended, it should once again be done in writing.

In most cases the employer can terminate the employee at will during the probation period. However for the protection of both employer and employee the following measures are taken

1] The employees should be informed that they are probation [in case of existing employees they should be given the reason for it].

2] A performance or evaluation plan should be developed and disclosed to the employee

3] The employee should receive periodic feedback of their performance.

4] Supplementary training should be provided to correct deficiencies.

5] A mentor must be assigned to assist the employee to reach the required standard.

It is therefore important for the employee to understand that probation is not a “punishment” or “time-out” for poor performance. Instead it should be regarded as an opportunity to learn and progress as an employee.

What Types of Legal Issues are Associated with Probationary Periods?

One of the legal issues involved with probation is that of wrongful termination. This happens if the employment contract is violated. Therefore the employer should provide the employee wint documents that supports reasons for termination.

Is a Lawyer needed for Concerns Regarding Probation Period?

Concerns regarding the probation period may be discussed with an employment law attorney. Lawyer can help determine whether the probation period was conducted properly, and whether a legal claim may be necessary in the situation.

What happens at the end of the probation period?

At the end of the satisfactorily completed probation the employee is awarded a permanent job, pay structure etc.

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