Probation Period

What is a Probation Period?

So you have eventually secured your dream job, and now you’re wondering what the benefits and rewards there are in it for you. You’re even thinking you’re going to be starting the career as a substantive employee only to find out you’re starting on probation. And so you’re lost wondering what it is and why you were given this type of letter. Don’t panic as you’re not alone on this.

In every workplace setting, probation (or probationary period) is the starting point for every employee who is just starting a career without prior experience. It’s the status given to you as you’re just starting your career in an organization and it’s universally referred to as a probation period.

So by definition, the probation period can be defined as a trial period given to a new employee by a company to enable it to evaluate and assign job responsibilities to the newly recruited worker.

Why Is Probation Important?

While you may see probation as something not too good for your career it offers some benefits. The probation period offers you the opportunity to prove your competency and skills to your employer. And by subjecting you to various evaluations and assignments given to you by the company, your employer can determine which position and responsibilities you can best handle and then assign appropriate roles and position to you in the organization.

The period also allows an employer to terminate an employee who hasn’t done well or who is deemed not fit for a particular position or role for which the company needs his services. However, many companies prefer conducting several interviews of the candidate rather than making an employee go through the probation period. This they do to avoid problems that could possibly arise from the probationary period.

How Long Does a Probation Period Last?

Although the probation period varies across businesses it can last anywhere from one month to several years. Where probation period is to last for several years, probation may change as you progress on the job. In that case, if a newly recruited worker demonstrates competence during the probationary time s/he may be removed from probationary status and may be given a promotion and other privileges based on what is already defined by the company.

Probation time isusually defined by a company and could be found in their employee book, which they will give to a new employee when they start a career with them.

You need to know that as you’re starting your career on probationary status, there is no law whatsoever limiting the length of employee probation period. And while your job could be terminated anytime if you’re found unfit for the job, there are some probationary dismissal rights you can still enjoy. For example, you’re protected against harassment and unlawful dismissal for some reasons such as age, gender, disability, religion, cultural background, and ethnicity.

Also, there is an alternative to a dismissal which is to extend your probation period. This gives the employee another opportunity to improve and prove himself otherwise. All in all, probation period is usually defined by the employer and you’ll get to know from the employee handbook that will be given to you by the employer.

What Rights Do You Have During Probation?

Sometimes you fall into the hand of a bad employer who thinks s/he can do an undo. But you must know your rights so you know what to expect and what not to expect while the period last. Probation is a fixed period during which a newly recruited employee is exempt from some contractual items.

Although the employer has the right to terminate your employment without the standard notice period, you have the right to prior notice of between one and 12 weeks. You should also know that some benefits such as pension schemes are often without a limit during probation period.

Pros of Probation

  • It helps employee start off well on the job since there are standards set for him to meet to qualify for the job.
  • It makes it easy for employers to terminate unwanted or unfit employee without being subjected to the usual collective bargaining agreement that may prevent organization from dismissing a worker without cause.
  • It improves the seriousness and performance of an employee since s/he knows his job is at risk.

Cons of Probation

  • Employer can get dismissed anytime except where termination is discriminatory or unlawful.
  • It can gives discouragement to some potential employees especially if the new employee is concerned about the possibility of the probationary period being extended.

How to Pass Your Probation Period

I think this part is the most important aspect of this topic because if at the end of the probationary period you’re found unfit and dismissed you’d have wasted your time all the while. So to avoid this you must know what to do to ace the probation.

To keep this concise and easy for you, here are the things you need to watch out for as you’re trying to pass your probation period:

  • Demonstrate high level of competence and skills
  • Maintain good behavior and attitude
  • Maintain good relationship with your fellow workers.

Wrapping Up

Overall, you should be able to do better getting started your career as a probationary employee. I’ve decided to keep everything brief and concise for you in this article, so you wouldn’t have to spend hours reading it. Go ahead, read it and understand all there is to know about the term probation period and you can rest assured you wouldn’t go wrong.

See Also

What is a Notice Period?
How long does it take to get a written job offer?