What is the Probation Period?
The probation period is the trial period for freshly recruited employees in a company. It is the fixed duration during which a new employee’s performance and suitability for a job are assessed. During the probation period, new employees are considered probationary employees. A probationary period can vary, but commonly, it lasts for 3 to 6 months.
The main benefit of the probationary period for an employee is the opportunity to exhibit their skills and adapt to the job. Employees are usually paid during the probation period. They receive their agreed-upon salary or wages as per the terms of their employment contract.
During probationary periods, employees have the same legal rights as other staff. This means they are entitled to the national minimum wage, statutory sick pay, and all fundamental employment rights. This includes the same working time rules and time off work.
What types of organizations offer probation periods?
1. Private Organizations
Private organizations are privately-owned businesses in a country. They are for-profit organizations and are not operated by any government body. They’re usually in the form of a corporate, agency, partnership, or headed by a single person.
Private companies’ employees receive a probation period of either 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months. The fixed probationary period depends on the particular company’s policies and guidelines.
For example, Infosys offers a probationary period of 1 year from the date of joining. In contrast, Zomato offers zero probation period.
Employees working under probation do receive a salary. However, in some cases, it might be lower than that of permanent employees. It may or may not include additional perks or benefits.
2. Government Organizations
A government organization is one where the central or state government, or both, owns at least 51% of the paid-up share capital. It is completely or partially handled by the government of a country. Examples include ministries, departments, agencies, and public institutions run by the government.
Government employees typically receive a probation period of 2 years in both statement government jobs and central government jobs. However, it is essential to check the official notification or employment rules of the specific government department for accurate information.
During the probation period in government jobs, employees receive a fixed salary determined by their pay grade.
Why complete the probation period?
Completing the probation period successfully helps an employee secure a permanent position in the organization. It provides better job security and benefits. Employers assess suitability, provide training, and monitor performance during this trial period.
Here are a few more reasons why employees should complete the probation period at work:
- To assess if the job is a good fit.
- To demonstrate capabilities and skills.
- To receive feedback on performance and conduct.
- To have a fair chance to improve and succeed in the job.
- To increase the likelihood of long-term success and growth in the organization.
What are the benefits of the probation period?
The probation period is being offered by almost all companies, private or government for ages. It is primarily because of the advantages it returns after the completion of this fixed trial period. This section throws light on the benefits that it provides for employees as well as employers.
Benefit of Probation Period for employee
Here are 3 benefits of the probationary period for employees:
1. Helps figure out if it’s the right fit
During the probationary period, an employee can assess the company’s overall culture and work environment. Along with it, they may evaluate if the day-to-day responsibilities align with their skill set and provide space to grow. The probation allows employees to determine if they can thrive in the role.
2. Establishes clear expectations
The probationary period involves setting specific performance and behavior expectations. These expectations serve as a roadmap for the employee to understand what is required of them at work. It gives them a structure on how to set their growth curve according to the expectations.
3. Build relationships with peers
The probationary period provides time for the new employee to interact with colleagues and form connections within the team. Building relationships at work in the initial few weeks is crucial to thrive in a work environment to have a sense of belonging. Furthermore, it improves job satisfaction.
Benefit of probation period for employer
Here are 3 benefits of the probationary period for the employer:
1. Saves expenses
The probationary period allows the employer to avoid making a long-term commitment before a proper assessment of an employee’s performance. Full-time employees enjoy training expenses, benefits, and potential severance pay. These are typically not enjoyed by probationary employees. If it becomes evident that the employee is not the right fit during this period, it can prevent the company from investing in them further.
2. Improves the onboarding process
During the probationary period, employers can fine-tune their onboarding processes. By providing necessary training and guidance to the new employee, the employer sets a strong foundation for success. This streamlined onboarding process increases employee productivity while improving the company’s profits.
3. Eases out the termination process
The probationary period makes it easier to terminate employees who don’t meet expectations or fit into the organization. It’s still an evaluation phase, so ending the employment is less complicated than with regular employees. It does not involve as much paperwork as in the case of full-time employees. This helps avoid legal issues and negative impacts on team morale.
Is the probation period considered experience?
Yes, the probation period served by an employee at any organization is considered work experience. Although it is a trial period, probationary employees still perform all work at par with permanent employees. Employees learn and contribute to the job, though not as extensive as regular experience. Candidates can include it when applying for jobs to demonstrate their abilities and suitability.
Does salary increase after the probation period?
Salary does not necessarily increase after the probation period is over. The completion of probation entitles an employee to a full-time or permanent employee. However, it does not guarantee a salary hike. Also, this is dependent on the agreement or the offer letter signed between the employer and the employee. If it is mentioned in the offer letter that there will be a hike after the probation then so is the case.
How to handle a probation period as a manager?
Managing a new hire’s probation period involves setting its duration, and end date, and ensuring clear agreement on terms for a successful onboarding experience, and more. A manager must be well-informed and attentive throughout this process. The following explains the various aspects that come with handling a new hire during probation for a manager.
Probationary Period Explanation and Support
Briefly explain the probation period to the new employee, including the duration, end date, and possibility of extensions. Conduct performance appraisals at 45, 90, and 135 days to provide feedback. Offer continuous feedback and support for improvement and commendable performance throughout the probationary period.
Prior Preparations for New Hires
Before the new hire arrives, ensure onboarding logistics are ready. Provide a first work assignment to engage them and assess their abilities. Consider assigning a colleague to offer guidance during their early days to aid in their adjustments. This step also includes developing a feedback system and setting achievable goals during the probation.
First-Week Schedule for New Hires
The first week is crucial for new hires and managers need to be prepared for it. Here are some suggestions:
- Introduce the department’s mission and tour the facilities.
- Arrange a lunch outing or welcome meeting.
- Discuss work schedule, call-in procedures, dress code, teleworking, and expected conduct.
- Ensure a smooth and informative first week.
Checking in with the New Hire
Regularly scheduled meetings provide an opportunity to assess the new hire’s progress and gather valuable information for their success. Ask questions like:
- Is the job what you expected? Any surprises?
- Has the training been helpful? Do you need additional support or materials?
- Are you receiving enough feedback on your performance?
Preparing for Probationary Employee Appraisal
If the probationary employee is eligible for an appraisal, there needs to be a clear assessment process before it. Prior to the appraisal, gather supporting documentation and specific examples to evaluate performance. Determine if the feedback will be reinforcing or corrective and include the business impact. Set the tone for the meeting and provide the new hire with your assessment of their performance so far.
Probationary Period Success
Upon completion of the probationary period, congratulate the employee. Encourage their growth and development. After passing probation, they are no longer considered probationary, even with transfers or promotions. They can start using regular employee benefits like leaves and rewards systems for full-time or permanent employees. Let them know about the changes.
Probationary Employee Termination
During the probationary period, termination is possible if the employee is deemed unfit, with agreement from the department head. Prior to termination, communicate performance issues, offer improvement opportunities through counseling, and establish an ongoing dialogue.
Before terminating the employee, ask yourself the following:
- Will this be a surprise to them?
- Did I clearly communicate my expectations?
- Did I give them the opportunity to improve?
- What did I do to help them improve?
- Will more training/time make a difference?
Ensure expectations were clear and the severity of the issue was communicated. Involve HR to ensure correct documentation and notification procedures.
Terminating an Employee Post Probation
When terminating an employee after the probationary period, the process becomes more involved. Coordinate with your departmental HR contact for guidance and assistance.
What are the employment laws on probation period?
Employment law is a guideline that governs the relationship between employers and employees. During the probation period, it ensures fair treatment, sets clear expectations, enables fair assessment, protects rights, and provides a framework for dispute resolution.
In India, the Industrial Employment Standing Orders Act, of 1946, is the only law that addresses probation. It applies to organizations or companies with at least 100 active permanent employees. As per this act, a permanent employee is someone who has completed a probationary period of at least three months and is engaged in the company’s industrial establishment on a permanent basis.
Here are the basic rules with respect to the probation period in India:
- As a probationer, giving prior notice before terminating services is essential to avoid legal consequences.
- The probation period typically lasts for a maximum of two months, but it can be extended to a maximum of four months if agreed upon by both the company and the employee.
- In exceptional cases, the probation period may not exceed one year, and it should never be more than double the normal period.
- Some states allow a probationary period of up to 240 days or eight months.
- The terms in the agreement should comply with the Standing orders of the Industrial Employment Act, of 1946, and cannot override them.
- A probationer is not considered a permanent employee until officially confirmed by the company.
- The authority has the right to terminate the services of a probationer without providing an explanation or reason if performance is unsatisfactory or behavior is unacceptable.
Can a company terminate an employee during a probation period?
Yes, a company can terminate an employee during a probation period. Some companies may provide a notice period of around 15 days. However, they have the right to terminate without notice if the employee’s performance or conduct is unsatisfactory. Such termination does not fall under the category of curtailment according to the Industrial Disputes Act.
Can employees resign during the probation period?
Yes, employees can resign during the probation period. The probation period serves as a trial run for both the employee and the company. If the employee feels that the role is not a good fit for them or they have found alternate employment, they can leave with a shorter notice period.
Is the notice period the same as the probation period?
No, the notice period and the probation period are different. The probation period is for initial evaluation, while the notice period is for informing about termination. During the probation period, either party can assess job suitability. The notice period is the time required to give prior termination information.
Can employees leave the job during the probation period without notice?
No, employees generally cannot leave a job during the probation period without providing notice, unless the company explicitly allows for it. The employee can usually resign on the spot with little or no notice, but if the probationary period is a term in the contract, a short notice period (typically 1 to 2 weeks) may apply.
Can someone on probation apply for other jobs?
Yes, someone on probation can apply for other jobs. Employees in the probation period are not restricted from applying for new positions or jobs. Probation does not impact an employee’s ability to seek new opportunities. However, it is important to follow the proper procedures, such as applying through the appropriate channels and sending an advance copy of the application to the recruiting agency.
What happens if an employee goes on a leave of absence during probation?
If an employee goes on a leave of absence during the probationary period, the company’s policies will determine the implications. Some companies may extend the probation, while certain leaves may be protected. Guidelines regarding leave policies will be present in the offer letter, if not you may want to communicate with HR.
Can a probationary employee file a complaint or grievance?
Yes, probationary employees can file a complaint or grievance if they feel treated unfairly or experience discrimination or harassment. Employment laws and company policies often provide avenues for employees to raise concerns and seek resolution to their grievances. This is regardless of their employment status.
Can a probationary employee appeal a termination?
Yes, a probationary employee can appeal a termination if they believe it was unfair or wrongful. However, probationary employees have fewer employment rights compared to permanent employees. Some companies may have appeal procedures in place to review termination decisions. The employee can express their concerns and provide any relevant evidence to support their case.