Probationary Periods

With the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Regulations 2022 introducing some statutory changes as to how probationary periods can now be implemented, here is a summary of the key points that need to be factored into employment contracts and probation review policies going forward:

Probationary Periods in the Private Sector cannot exceed 6 months* (12 months in the Public Sector).

*Probationary periods can only on an exceptional basis exceed 6 months, provided they do not exceed 12 months and that it would be in the interest of the employee to extend. This means that extended probationary periods should not be the norm in an organisation and should be only applied as an exception to the standard 6 month probation period.

It is also worth noting that any notice period that needs to be applied, in the event of a termination during probation will bring an employee within the protection of the Unfair Dismissal Legislation if 12 months service has already been reached, and it is recommended that extensions are not granted up to 12 months.

The length of any probationary period being applied must be proportionate to the length of any fixed term contract that an employee is offered and the standard six month probationary period may not be appropriate and too long.

Probationary periods should also not be applied to the renewal of a fixed term contract that involves completion of the same work as the original contract.