Probation (Employment Probationary Period)

Definition

The term probation refers to the time during which a new employee works before becoming a permanent employee.  A probationary period can last anywhere from thirty days to as long as twelve months.

Explanation

Also known as an employment probationary period, probation in the workplace is a span of time during which a newly hired employee can be terminated without just cause.  Once past the probationary period, the employee is considered permanent and can only be terminated for cause.

While on probation, the new employee may be closely monitored by their immediate supervisor to assess their skills as well as their fit in the company's culture.  The rules of probation are normally documented in an employee handbook.  While this policy is typically applied to newly hired employees, it may also apply to promotions, lateral transfers, and poor performers.

For both the protection of the individual placed on probation, as well as their supervisor, the following processes are followed during this time:

  • The employee is informed they're about to go through a probationary period, the reason(s) for the probation, and its duration.
  • The employee will meet with their supervisor at a pre-established frequency to discuss their progress and share performance feedback.
  • If needed, the employee may be asked to attend a training program to address any deficiencies identified by their supervisor.
  • The supervisor will document their observations during this period, the performance feedback provided to the employee, as well as any insights gained from the employee during their meetings.

Related Terms

employment contract, implied employment contract, Loudermill Rights, part-time job, phased retirement, seasonal employment, self-employed, wrongful demotion