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Probationary Period

Key Points

  • Employees are usually given a probationary period at the start of employment, essentially as a trial period to give the employer the opportunity to assess the employee’s performance in the role before confirming the appointment as permanent.
  • There is no fixed length of time for a probationary period and the expression “probationary period” has no particular legal status.
  • From a legal point of view a person employed on a probationary period has the same rights as a permanent employee (although is unlikely to have the qualifying service where required for unfair dismissal protection) but may be subject to different contractual terms, e.g. relating to notice periods, during the probationary period.

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