Probation (workplace)

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In a workplace setting, probation (or probationary period) is a status given to new employees of a company or business. Similar status may be given to members of organizations such as churches, associations, clubs or orders, for example in the Methodist Church a new minister is appointed as a "probationer" for a period before ordination.[1] It is widely termed as the Probation Period of an employee. This status allows a supervisor or other company manager to evaluate closely the progress and skills of the newly hired worker, determine appropriate assignments, and monitor other aspects of the employee such as honesty, reliability, and interactions with co-workers, supervisors or customers.

A probationary period varies widely depending on the business, but can last anywhere from 30 days to several years. In cases of several years, probationary levels may change as time goes on. If the new employee shows promise and does well during the probationary time, they are usually removed from probationary status, and may be given a raise or promotion as well (in addition to other privileges, as defined by the business). Probation is usually defined in a company's employee handbook, which is given to workers when they first begin a job.

The probationary period also allows an employer to terminate an employee who is not doing well at their job or is otherwise deemed not suitable for a particular position or any position. Whether or not this empowers employers to abuse their employees by, without warning, terminating their contract before the probation period has ended is open for debate. To avoid problems arising from the termination of a new employee, many companies are waiving the probationary period entirely, and instead conducting multiple interviews of the candidate, under a variety of conditions – before making the decision to hire.

The placement of an employee on probationary status is usually at the discretion of their manager.[citation needed]

Probation policies[edit]

The operation of a probation period and the support available to a new employee during this name is often set out in a "probation policy": for United Kingdom examples, see the probation policies of Lincolnshire County Council, [2] The Co-operative Group,[3] and Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.[4]


  1. ^ Methodist Church of Great Britain, Probationers, accessed 23 July 2021
  2. ^ Lincolnshire County Council, Probation policy, accessed 23 July 2021
  3. ^ Co-operative Group Limited, Probationary period policy, accessed 23 July 2021
  4. ^ Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Probation Policy, ratified 14 June 2016, accessed 23 July 2021