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Your Questions Answered
Q: What are the benefits of a probationary period?

A: There is no statutory basis within employment legislation to have probationary periods. However, there are some benefits.

They are a good way to let a new employee know that they have a set period of time when their suitability for a role can be assessed. By the same token, it’s an opportunity for an employee to also assess whether or not the role and Company are right for them.

Because there is no legislative requirement to have a probationary period, they are purely contractual and so you can choose what conditions to include during this period. They might for example have a shorter notice period during the probationary period such as one week or even less than that during the first month. This will mean that if the employee isn’t right, you can remove them from the business more quickly and if you pay in lieu of notice, will obviously cost less.

You may decide to only offer company sick pay to employees who have completed their probationary period with Statutory Sick Pay only being payable during probation.

Always ensure that you reserve the right to extend the probationary period if you need further time to assess an employee’s suitability.

Always ensure you confirm to employees in writing when they have passed their probation.

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