Making probationary periods effective
By Michael Briggs
A recent survey has revealed that a fifth of new employees fail their probationary period or have this period extended. However, employers should be mindful of the potential pitfalls in relying too heavily on probationary periods.
Probationary periods are included in the employment contract and allow an employer to dismiss an employee on giving only a short amount of notice during the first few months of employment (although employers should make sure that notice given during the probationary period is at least as much as the statutory minimum notice period, which for new employees is not less than one week’s notice).
They therefore allow employers time to assess an employee’s suitability for a role early on in the employment relationship, safe in the knowledge that the employer can easily end the relationship if it is not working out. Indeed, capability appears to be the most common reason for employees to fail their probation, with 62 per cent of managers in one survey citing it as the reason they had used for not passing an employee’s probation. Other common reasons are absence, lateness and sickness…
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