Must an employer wait until the end of the probationary period before dismissing an unsatisfactory probationer?

An employer does not need to wait until the end of a probationary period before dismissing an unsatisfactory employee - the employee can be dismissed during the probationary period.

It is common for employers to stipulate a probationary period for new employees, particularly those at junior or mid level, for example for a period of three or six months. However, a probationary period has virtually no effect on the employer-employee relationship. The purpose of the probationary period is simply to enable the employer to monitor and appraise the probationer in the initial stages of their employment to ensure that the required standards of performance and conduct are being reached.

If the probationer turns out to be unsatisfactory during the probationary period, the employer can take the necessary steps to dismiss them without waiting for the probationary period to come to an end. The employer should ensure that it follows any applicable contractual disciplinary procedure prior to the dismissal. It must give the required period of contractual or statutory notice, whichever is the greater.