Probationary periods

Bar HubermanEditor's message: While there is no legal requirement to set a probationary period for a new employee, doing so can allow your organisation to assess over an appropriate period of time if its new recruit is suitable for the job. At the same time, it allows the new employee to make sure that the role - and the organisation - is right for him or her.

Of course, a probationary period will be effective only if it is properly structured and effectively managed, with the employee's progress monitored and feedback and guidance given on a regular basis - a job that typically falls to the organisation's line managers, who need to be fully aware of their responsibilities in this area. It is key that they adhere to holding the final probationary review and taking the appropriate action - confirming the employee in the role, terminating his or her employment or, in some circumstances, extending the probationary period - before the agreed probationary period has come to an end. Not doing so, and potentially allowing the employee to be confirmed in the position by default, will mean that the employee may become entitled to any contractual rights and benefits dependent on the satisfactory completion of a probationary period, including, potentially, a longer notice period.

Bar Huberman, employment law editor

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