Employment Law: How to abide by probationary period rules

Being ‘on probation’ does not mean that you don’t have rights

In many businesses, it is now common for employers to require new employees to carry out a probationary period before they are permanently accepted for the position.

However, even though your new employee is ‘on probation’, they do still have statutory employment rights.

There are a number of points that employers need to remember and guidelines for them to follow when it comes to dealing with a new employee on their probationary period.

Employees who begin a new role ‘on probation’ are still entitled to the same statutory employment rights as the other members of staff. The length of time a person has worked for their employers decides what statutory rights they are entitled to but those on probation are treated no differently.

Probationary employees are also covered against unfair dismissal and unlawful discrimination and are entitled to statutory sick pay, the national minimum wage and time off depending on the circumstances.

The same rights apply to probationers who need time off to attend antenatal or adoption appointments and are also entitled to time off with pay for family related issues. A female probationer is entitled to maternity leave and could also qualify for statutory maternity leave.

Employees on probation are also covered against unlawful dismissal, such as disability discrimination. If an employee on probation suffers from a disability and has time off because of this, the employer must make acceptable arrangements.

If the new employee fails their probationary period, the employer is within their rights to cancel their contract. If during the probationary period the employee has had less statutory holidays than they have accumulated, the employer needs to make sure the employee receives a payment on termination of their employment.

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