HR / Immigration Law - Extending a Probation Period

Scott Pettifer
Client Engagement Director | DavidsonMorris
9th April 2024

Best practice guidance for employers when extending a probation period.

A probation period is a trial period designed to provide the employer with better insight into whether or not a successful applicant is suitable, both for the job role and the business.

Even though an employer may have already invested a great deal of time and money in assessing the suitability of a candidate — based on their application, interview(s), and even written or practical assessments — this doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual in question will perform to the required standards, or conform to the standards of conduct, expected of them. How well a person performs in interview or under assessment, and how well they appear to come across personality-wise, doesn’t always translate into practice.

The reality is that it’s only ever really possible to assess how capable someone is, and how well they’ll integrate into the business and with colleagues, once they’ve actually started work. This means that it’s not unreasonable to require new starters to undergo a set trial period before making any decision to make them a permanent or fixed term member of staff — with the enhanced contractual rights that are typically associated with long-term employment.

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