HR & Employment Law Insights

Helping family businesses, start-ups, charities, social enterprises, and other growing or established businesses throughout the UK make sense of HR and Employment Law challenges.

In this weeks question of the week, we explain what the advantages are of have a probationary period in place.

Question 

What are the advantages of a probationary period?

Answer

It is good practice to make use of a probationary period with a new staff member. By having this in place you are giving them an initial trial period, which allows both you and them to make sure that you have made the right decision and you are setting a clear expectation with them, that if things don’t work out, they will not become a permanent employee.

An advantage to you as the business owner, by doing this, is that it can help you more easily manage things if they go wrong. When someone is on probation you may be able to exercise your right to terminate their employment due to them failing their probationary period. Be aware though that this still requires the appropriate procedure to be followed. By following the appropriate procedure, this would also include, providing your dismissed employee with a letter of dismissal confirming their dismissal and the reason for it. You would also allow the employee to have a right of appeal.

Here at The HR Booth, we have the expertise to support you with this. An employee who is on probation is unlikely to have the required length of service to be able to claim unfair dismissal. However, they may still be able to bring a claim of unfair dismissal if the dismissal was for an automatically unfair reason, such as whistleblowing, maternity and trade union related reasons. In addition, all discrimination claims will continue to have no qualifying period. It is worth making sure you get this right as the potential costs and impact on the reputation of your business can be costly – for example, the median payout for sex discrimination cases in 2014/2015 was £13,500.