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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
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