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Employee Probationary Period Policy

This sample employee probationary period policy template is ready to be tailored to your company’s needs and should be considered a starting point for setting up your custom employee probation period policy. A probationary period company policy may also be referred to as a probation policy.

probationary period

Policy brief & purpose

Our probationary period company policy will define the employment probationary period and explain its meaning for the employee and the company. This practice is designed to allow an introductory period for everyone involved to decide if the hiring of the particular employee was a correct decision and whether the employee should continue working for the company.


This policy applies to all prospective and existing employees of our company.

Policy elements

Those who can be placed in an employee probationary period include the following:

  • New employees who have just passed through a hiring process for a permanent position
  • Current employees who are promoted to a position of higher responsibility
  • Current employees who have to be disciplined for various reasons

The length of the probationary period may be different for new hires in the various levels of positions in the company. It will not, however, extend beyond the limit set by legislation. It will be clearly stated in the employment contract and further details may be given in the employee handbook.

The probationary period may be extended for reasons that justify this action. The employee will receive formal notification in writing with the reason for the extension and clearly defined objectives.

New Employees

The company will make an effort to ensure that its hiring procedures serve the purpose of recruiting the best employees for each open position. However, we acknowledge that they are inevitably not always accurate in predicting performance or determining appropriate cultural fit. The probation period for new employees gives both employee and employer enough time to find out if their employment relation will eventually work out to the benefit of both.

What is the meaning of probation period?

The probationary period definition for new employees is the time between signing an employment contract and being granted permanent employment status. It is a “trial period” during which the employee is being evaluated as a suitable fit to the position and the company. The new employee will be given consistent feedback and coaching to have the chance to learn their new job and improve during the probationary period. At the end of the probation period (or possibly before that), the supervisor will determine if the employee should be retained in the organization. This decision will be made by appraising the following criteria:

  • The skills, competencies and knowledge of the employee on the job
  • The employee’s progress on given assignments
  • Their reliability, trustworthiness and other relevant personality characteristics of the employee
  • The employee’s relations and collaboration with subordinates, supervisors and peers

The abovementioned criteria will be assessed with quantitative measures if applicable. Their progress will be documented whenever possible, and the decision to retain them will be at the supervisor’s discretion.

Permanent employees

When an employee has completed their initial probationary period, they are granted permanent employment status. After that they may be placed on probation as part of a disciplinary procedure. The reason for the disciplinary action, ranging from low performance to policy violations, will determine the length of the probationary period. During this period, the employee is obliged to change their behavior or they will be faced with more severe repercussions leading up to termination. The company will help them as much as possible with guidance, feedback and training and will expect them to comply.

An employee may also be placed in a probationary period if they have been promoted or transferred to a position. The purpose of this is to ensure that the employee is able to complete their new duties. If they are deemed unsuitable, they may be allowed to be demoted or return to their previous position or other solutions may be found. Employment is not guaranteed and the decision remains at the supervisor’s discretion.

Termination: Dismissal during probationary period

If the employee is deemed unsuitable while on a probationary period, they may be terminated without the minimum prior notice mandated by law. The termination of employment during this period may be for cause or without cause depending on the circumstances and the individual’s evaluation.

Termination may occur before the ending of the probationary period. This may happen if the tactical evaluations of the employee are highly unsatisfying or if the employee engages in behavior that justifies a for-cause dismissal. The employee will be officially notified in writing for the decision to terminate them. The document will explicitly state the reason behind their termination and the expected date it will take effect.

Employees may still have to be dismissed for various reasons, after the end of the probationary period. In such cases, the company will follow probation period employment law, legal guidelines and its own separation of employment policy.


Disclaimer: This policy template is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor Workable will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this policy.
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