Skip main navigation


an image that spells out the word probation
© CQUniversity 2021

What Is Probation?

A probationary period is a period of time (e.g. 3 months) at the beginning of employment, which allows either the employer or the employee to terminate the employment for any reason. The purpose of a probationary period is for both parties to decide whether the employee is suited to the position and/or employer’s business. (for Australians, see Fair Work Act 2009)

Are You Automatically On Probation If You Start A New Job?

A ‘probationary period’ is created by a written employment agreement, and therefore, if no written employment agreement exists, the employee’s employment should not be subject to a probationary period.

The size of the Business Counts

Regardless of whether or not a new employee’s employment is subject to a probationary period, an employer can still terminate an employee’s employment for any reason within a ‘minimum employment period’ without unfair dismissal laws applying.

The minimum employment period (under Australian Law) is either:

12 months (for an employer that employs fewer than 15 employees) 6 months (for an employer that employs 15 or more employees).

Successful Probation Depends On

  • A strong knowledge base and skill set
  • Consistent and reliable application of the skill set and knowledge base
  • Rapport and good working relationships with colleagues and associates
  • Punctuality and reliability in attendance
  • Management’s view as to whether you will be able to handle new tasks or tasks in the future.
© CQUniversity 2021
This article is from the free online

Work Ready Skills: Job Searches, Writing a CV and Interviewing

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education