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Q: “Is it a good idea to put new starters on a probation period and, if so, what should we say?”
A: If you put someone onto an initial probation period you commit yourself to spending time monitoring and developing the employee. If you terminate the person's employment before the end of the probation period because of unsatisfactory performance he or she may successfully argue that you did not allow the full period in which to reach the required standard. If you do decide to use a probation period you should state clearly in writing:
- When the probation period ends.
- That you have the right to extend it if the employee has a period of absence.
- That you have the right to extend it if the employee fails to make the grade.
- How much notice would be given during or at the end of the probation period
- How many warnings would be given if behaviour or performance is unsatisfactory.
- Any change to terms and conditions of employment if the probation period is completed satisfactorily.
You may consider it simpler not to have a probation period but to monitor the new recruit, do your best to help him or her achieve the required standard, but dismiss in the normal way if that standard is not nor is likely to be reached.
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