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What Are My Rights During A Probation Period?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 14 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Employment Contract Probation Notice

Q.

I worked for 2 and half months for a company and was in the 3 month probation period. My employer called me in, told me I was being replaced by the person who had originally left and that I would be demoted at a pay cut of 20%.

I was also told I could leave, which is obviously the route I took. Now the employer is claiming back a week's wages of £300 in lieu of 1 week's notice pay. I feel this is totally unfair as I was constructively dismissed and do not even have a job to pay this amount back. What are my rights and obligations?

(J.A, 10 May 2009)

A.

I'm sorry to hear of your situation. In the current economic situation, losing your job is a really upsetting issue, even more so than usual. A key reason for this is the potential problem in finding new work, so you must not get sucked into a situation that was not of your making, and be careful not to become too negative and make it harder for you to get a new job.

There is a vast difference in employment law depending on your contract and what stage you are at within it. The fact that you were within the initial three-month probation period would be my first point to question – were you aware of a three-month probation period? This should have been clearly marked on your Employment Contract.

If it is clear that you 'signed up' to a three-month probation period, then there is not a whole load you can do.

However, the second point I would question is the very frustrating issue of how you were told that you could leave. You have simply said that you were 'told you could leave' – were any conditions or options given about working your one week's notice? I would suggest that this is the core factor in your argument and the one which you should shout about with your previous employer.

It sounds as though you were alone with the boss when then occurred, so as this is essentially 'your word against theirs'. I would recommend that you focus on the fact that there should have been a witness present.

If at all possible, I would suggest that you write to your previous employer, focusing on this issue and saying that you are prepared to let the matter drop if they will waiver the claim on the £300. Although essentially you could cause a bit of a stink about the lack of professionalism in how they handled the issue. They are probably aware of this, so even just a slight mention should work.

You may wish to gain additional professional advice from someone who can know more details of your case and see your employment contract in detail.

Best of luck.

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M - Your Question:
HelloWhile I was on a 6 mths probation period and I was dismissed from my job prematurely after the area manager deemed me "unsuitable" for the role. She reached this decision just two weeks after my first review with her. When I asked the manager to explain why she felt that I was "unsuitable" she stated that as I was on probation she need not give me further explanation. Can a manager do this?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, your manager can. A probationary period is for both the employer and the employee to determine whether they think they are suitable for the role. It means either the employee or the employer can give notice to the other without any explanation or repercussions.
WorkingRights - 15-Mar-18 @ 3:36 PM
Hello While I was on a 6 mths probation period and I was dismissed from my job prematurely after the area manager deemed me "unsuitable" for the role.She reached this decision just two weeks after my first review with her.When I asked the manager to explain why she felt that I was "unsuitable" she stated that as I was on probation she need not give me further explanation.Can a manager do this?
M - 14-Mar-18 @ 4:04 PM
Apes - Your Question:
Hello, I have recently been employed by a Nursing Home, I'm sill on my 3 month probation period, and I have never seen my contract or been given any information about my rights in the job. I have been bullied by a female colleague who is a favourite to he company and management, and when I made a complaint about her work ethic I was told that my complaint was not valid and that "everyone had a vendetta out on her", which is not true, as other staff member refuse to work with her and have complained about her work ethic. I am contracted 36 hour a week, but this is sporadic to them (one week I work 24, the next 42 due to short staffing). After an incident with a resident's family (which was no my fault but I took the blame anyway), my manager made the roster and instead of the three 12 hour shifts im contracted for, Im working 6 days and a night shift. Like punishment or something. I have endometriosis and one kidney, so when I called in sick (only one time) my manager questioned me as to why I wasn't there, and said "It just wasn't good enough, the people need you". Well, how am I meant to work when I am sick? I feel like I'm being treated unfairly and theres a little bit of bullying happening. Im DREADING going back, Im in a state of panic even thinking about having to go back to that terrible place. Do I have to give any notice? Or can I just leave? They can fire me whenever they like during my probation, so does that mean I can walk away as well? I know that I have to pay for training I have received if you don't work a whole year, which is fine. They owe me for shifts, but I don't really care about the money, I care more about my mental and physical health, which has been slowly going downhill ever since working there. Can someone please just say I can leave, because they're awful.

Our Response:
Probation periods work both ways. It is a trial period to see whether the employment works for both the employer and employee. It means that an employer can dismiss a member of staff without notice, likewise a member of staff can leave, if they feel they feel the job does not suit. If you have no written contract, then you can leave when you choose.
WorkingRights - 12-Mar-18 @ 10:54 AM
Hello, I have recently been employed by a Nursing Home, I'm sill on my 3 month probation period, and I have never seen my contract or been given any information about my rights in the job. I have been bullied by a female colleague who is a favourite to he company and management, and when i made a complaint about her work ethic I was told that my complaint was not valid and that "everyone had a vendetta out on her", which is not true, as other staff member refuse to work with her and have complained about her work ethic. I am contracted 36 hour a week, but this is sporadic to them (one week I work 24, the next 42 due to short staffing). After an incident with a resident's family (which was no my fault but i took the blame anyway), my manager made the roster and instead of the three 12 hour shifts im contracted for, Im working 6 days and a night shift. Like punishment or something. I have endometriosis and one kidney, so when I called in sick (only one time) my manager questioned me as to why I wasn't there, and said "It just wasn't good enough, the people need you". Well, how am I meant to work when I am sick? I feel like I'm being treated unfairly and theres a little bit of bullying happening. Im DREADING going back, Im in a state of panic even thinking about having to go back to that terrible place. Do i have to give any notice? Or can I just leave? They can fire me whenever they like during my probation, so does that mean I can walk away as well? I know that I have to pay for training I have received if you don't work a whole year, which is fine. They owe me for shifts, but I don't really care about the money, I care more about my mental and physical health, which has been slowly going downhill ever since working there. Can someone please just say I can leave, because they're awful.
Apes - 11-Mar-18 @ 10:20 AM
Minnie - Your Question:
I have a contract in my 3 months probation which I was given by my employer.They then extended my probation for another 3 months as to which was never written in a letter form only verbally to myself in a 1-2-1.i decided to leave in that extended probabtion as to which my contract said I had to give 2 weeks notice if it was an extended probation period which I was.i handed in my two weeks notice and was told they were refusing it as they wanted me to work a whole months notice even though my contract said differently which they had a copy of.I said I was happy to leave with working my two weeks notice but they started being really funny about it and said I owed them a month and being quite rude over the phone saying about other staff talking badly behind my back aboyt myself.to which I've then discovered the owner whom I handed my notice into had been asking other staff about my personal life and my reasons for leaving the work place.I walking out on the 3rd day of my 2 weeks notice because of this.Am I in the right to do so as they wouldn't accept my notice nor treat me very nicely?

Our Response:
You are entitled to leave within the time frame specified in your contract. Your employer had no right to request you to work beyond the stated notce period. If you are on a probationary period, then there is little your employer can do if you decide to walk away from the job without notice.
WorkingRights - 6-Mar-18 @ 3:08 PM
I have a contract in my 3 months probation which I was given by my employer. They then extended my probation for another 3 months as to which was never written in a letter form only verbally to myself in a 1-2-1.i decided to leave in that extended probabtion as to which my contract said I had to give 2 weeks notice if it was an extended probation period which I was.i handed in my two weeks notice and was told they were refusing it as they wanted me to work a whole months notice even though my contract said differently which they had a copy of. I said I was happy to leave with working my two weeks notice but they started being really funny about it and said I owed them a month and being quite rude over the phone saying about other staff talking badly behind my back aboyt myself.to which I've then discovered the owner whom I handed my notice into had been asking other staff about my personal life and my reasons for leaving the work place. I walking out on the 3rd day of my 2 weeks notice because of this. Am I in the right to do so as they wouldn't accept my notice nor treat me very nicely?
Minnie - 2-Mar-18 @ 8:45 PM
I have a contract in my 3 months probation which I was given by my employer. They then extended my probation for another 3 months as to which was never written in a letter form only verbally to myself in a 1-2-1.i decided to leave in that extended probabtion as to which my contract said I had to give 2 weeks notice if it was an extended probation period which I was.i handed in my two weeks notice and was told they were refusing it as they wanted me to work a whole months notice even though my contract said differently which they had a copy of. I said I was happy to leave with working my two weeks notice but they started being really funny about it and said I owed them a month and being quite rude over the phone saying about other staff talking badly behind my back aboyt myself.to which I've then discovered the owner whom I handed my notice into had been asking other staff about my personal life and my reasons for leaving the work place. I walking out on the 3rd day of my 2 weeks notice because of this. Am I in the right to do so as they wouldn't accept my notice nor treat me very nicely?
Minnie - 2-Mar-18 @ 8:01 PM
I have a contract in my 3 months probation which I was given by my employer. They then extended my probation for another 3 months as to which was never written in a letter form only verbally to myself in a 1-2-1.i decided to leave in that extended probabtion as to which my contract said I had to give 2 weeks notice if it was an extended probation period which I was.i handed in my two weeks notice and was told they were refusing it as they wanted me to work a whole months notice even though my contract said differently which they had a copy of. I said I was happy to leave with working my two weeks notice but they started being really funny about it and said I owed them a month and being quite rude over the phone saying about other staff talking badly behind my back aboyt myself.to which I've then discovered the owner whom I handed my notice into had been asking other staff about my personal life and my reasons for leaving the work place. I walking out on the 3rd day of my 2 weeks notice because of this. Am I in the right to do so as they wouldn't accept my notice nor treat me very nicely?
Minnie - 2-Mar-18 @ 6:51 PM
I am in my notice period as my manager has finished my probation early saying he has lost confidence in my ability to bring in the sales. No metrics were ever put in place. However during this notice am I still entitled to my contractual rights in regards to company car and fuel card. Thanks
Shippers - 2-Mar-18 @ 2:27 PM
I started my job in 02/10/2017 I did not have any training for my role until 6/12/2017 and 18/12/2017, my manager would set targets for me and harass me throughout the time that I was on probation, at one stage I informed him that he was bulling me and that I would take this higher. He arranged a meeting with me on 19/02/2018 and ended my employment on grounds of performance and conduct, he said that I failed to upload date on to their system and this was part of my probation, so there for I failed. I want to appeal, I have been informed that I cannot appeal because I have been dismissed is this correct. I was sack in my probation period I was harassed throughout my time on my probation period I was not given training and made to do task without training, I was treated unfairly and bullied when he meets with me on his own. I asked for the appeal process and was informed that I cannot appeal because I have been dismissed. Dismissing me without going through the right procedure would be a breach of contract if the disciplinary process is part of your employment contract. Invariably, if your employer dismisses you without going through due process it would be a breach of the duty of trust and confidence. You don’t need two years’ service to sue for wrongful dismissal. You have this right from day one of employment. If an employer dismisses an employee on probation for conduct reasons without following a contractually binding disciplinary procedure, the employer is at risk of a breach of contract claim for failing to follow its own procedure.
Matt - 2-Mar-18 @ 10:10 AM
What are my rights during probation
Michelle - 16-Jan-18 @ 12:43 PM
Jenn72 - Your Question:
I started my employment 9/10/17 and have done my job well. We broke for Christmas 23/12/17 and I was due in to cover for 2 days between Christmas and New year. I was unwell with flu but went in for the first of those days. I was praised by my boss by text for turning up when so unwell. During the past few weeks I have been going through a break up in a relationship which was starting to take its toll but I never let it affect my work. To cut a long story short, I had a breakdown. (I think the flu symptoms may have been the start of this) I informed my employers that I wasn’t well and couldn’t do the 2nd day of my stint between Christmas and New Year. Things got worse and Home and I saw a mental health worker who told me I should inform my employer that I was self certifying sick until I got a sick note from my own doctor. I then did this and informed my employer by email as they are in Spain. I explained that I just needed the 2 weeks to get my head together and find a new place for my daughter and I to live then would be back on top form. I have just received an email back saying that as I small company, they can not afford to ‘carry’ me and therefore are terminating my contract, but said when I’m better I should call them to see what we can do? I know I have done my job well. I don’t know what to do.

Our Response:
While you are in your probationary period, then your employer has no obligations to keep you on if they do not think you suitable for the job. You have no recourse to argue against this matter. I can only suggest (as suggested by your employer) you contact your employer again when you have sorted these matters out.
WorkingRights - 4-Jan-18 @ 3:33 PM
I started my employment 9/10/17 and have done my job well. We broke for Christmas 23/12/17 and I was due in to cover for 2 days between Christmas and New year. I was unwell with flu but went in for the first of those days. I was praised by my boss by text for turning up when so unwell. During the past few weeks I have been going through a break up in a relationship which was starting to take its toll but I never let it affect my work. To cut a long story short, I had a breakdown. (I think the flu symptoms may have been the start of this) I informed my employers that I wasn’t well and couldn’t do the 2nd day of my stint between Christmas and New Year. Things got worse and Home and I saw a mental health worker who told me I should inform my employer that I was self certifying sick until I got a sick note from my own doctor. I then did this and informed my employer by email as they are in Spain. I explained that I just needed the 2 weeks to get my head together and find a new place for my daughter and I to live then would be back on top form. I have just received an email back saying that as I small company, they can not afford to ‘carry’ me and therefore are terminating my contract, but said when I’m better I should call them to see what we can do? I know I have done my job well. I don’t know what to do.
Jenn72 - 4-Jan-18 @ 11:27 AM
I am a month into a 3 month probation period... i was taken in on friday and told they were going to decrease my wages as i done better at the interview than he thought i was... they produced pictures which was my first job on my own and a few mistakes were made without any training on their equipment..... do i have any rights??? What if i say no to the decrease? I have a written contract for another 2 months. Thanks, based in uk
Chiv - 16-Sep-17 @ 12:57 PM
@Solo - you'll probably be on a probationary period for three-six months.
Liv - 14-Sep-17 @ 1:55 PM
Hi I've just started a cleaning job I'm on 6 month probabilityI don't have time to clean the toilets given to me but managing to cover everything else I'm a hard worker I've not been pulled up on any thing all positive feedback just no time to do the toilets I think they might be testing me Could the toilets jeopardise me been offerd the job?
Solo - 13-Sep-17 @ 9:18 PM
Shell - Your Question:
Hi I have just started work for care in community for altzimers and dementia. I am om probstion for 3 months. I have had some shadowing and did my first shift in morning. My next one is due. I have got myself in a right state feeling sick. Crying not sleeping. I dont feel this is right for me. As I originally thought. And talking to them tomorrow. I phoned today in a right state. What I would like to no is if I left can I claim jibseekers. I already suffer with depression and fear this will get worse. Thank you in advance

Our Response:
Your eligibility for benefits will depend on your means and on the details of how your job ended. Your Jobcentre Plus can delay your Jobseeker's Allowance for up to 26 weeks if you've voluntarily quit without good reason. You would have to have left your job with ‘just cause’ in order to be able to claim. When you claim JSA, you will be asked to complete a form giving your reasons for leaving and you would also have to give examples of the the steps taken to find other employment. Also, you would have to give evidence of trying to resolve any issues you may have had by speaking to your line manager. All this will be taken into account when deciding whether to award you Jobseekers Allowance or not. Likewise the time in the job and the amount of National Insurance contributions you have made will also make a difference. You may wish to speak with the Turn2Us helpline here .
WorkingRights - 8-Aug-17 @ 11:01 AM
Hi i have just started work for care in community for altzimers and dementia. I am om probstion for 3 months. I have had some shadowing and did my first shift in morning. My next one is due. I have got myself in a right state feeling sick. Crying not sleeping. I dont feel this is right for me. As i originally thought. And talking to them tomorrow. I phoned today in a right state. What i would like to no is if i left can i claim jibseekers. I already suffer with depression and fear this will get worse. Thank you in advance
Shell - 6-Aug-17 @ 10:03 PM
I am a manager still inside the 6 month probationary period but have not had a meeting to say my 3 month probationary has been extended to 6 my main question is should any investigatory or disciplinary procedures within that 6 months be same as someone who has passed their 6 month probationary periodas a manager and previous manager union rep I know this company has clearly not followed the guidelines their staff handbook is vague to say the least or is it case they can do what they like because you have not yet passed the 6 month slot the 6 months is up next week I intend to leave the company anyway but just want to ensure I am treated correctly kind regards
daz - 29-Jul-17 @ 10:18 AM
Hi, I started a job on the 2nd May 2017, Today (26th July) I was told that my probation period was being extended by 1 month. that's 5 days before the end of my probation period. The question I have is, can they extend this with just 5 days left however in my contract there is no clause that states they can extend it. All I have is NOTICE OF TERMINATION TO BE GIVEN BY EMPLOYEE/EMPLOYER Under 1 month’s service - Nil. 1 month to successful completion of your probationary period - 1 week. On successful completion of your probationary period - 3 months. Can they extend this and if they cannot and I am let go on say the 11th August am I entitled to my 3 months notice. Regards Bern
Bern - 26-Jul-17 @ 2:37 PM
@snowy - your current manager can only go on the information he/she has been given from coming to the role and take it from there. It sounds like your company is a bit disorganised, but if there has been some concerns of your approach to others, then I imagine your manager is acting in line with company policy. If there are potential issues, then they will want to keep abreast of them and you. Even if they are failing you, there's not much you can do as you wouldn't be able to claim unfair dismissal.
JillT - 17-Jul-17 @ 10:58 AM
I am on week 20 of probationary period. My line manager left during week 13. Since then I have had 4 different managers. No concerns raised during first 13 weeks. I have not had a formal probationary meetingthroughout my employment. yesterday I was informed my probation period was to be extended by 3 months.I was electronically invited to meet my manager, with the subject heading Manager meeting, no other information provided. Concerns raised regarding my approach toward others, yet no complaints have been formally raised. Neither have these persons spoken to me bout any issues, and neither has management encouraged to do so. It feels 1 sided. These past 7 weeks the 4 different managers have all said its not clear what my job role is in the company. Surely concerns should be raised, mediation offered to resolve any potential issues. if issues are present then coaching should be put into place. if no improvement, then a formal probationary review should recommend extension. I am currently in new employment in a role I have never done before. Are they failing me
snowy - 14-Jul-17 @ 9:44 PM
I work for a care company i feel i am getting bulled by 2 women soical workers in the place where i work there on my back all the timethey follow me i clean for the company in a care home for boys they email my boss saying i am not doing my job if i clean they go in and mess up the beds toilets floors ect they are making my life hell i am a single mother of 3 kids i have no surport from any one not even my boss i go in front of him this thursday for a disciplinaty hearing i am making myself thinking about it i dont no what to do please someone help me .
none - 11-Jul-17 @ 5:20 PM
CRH - Your Question:
My husband started a new job on 5th December 2016. As per his contract his probationary period was 6 months. He has never been signed off. It is now 7 months so the assumption is that he passed. However he is now being demoted and moved to another office where the company plan to start his probation again. Is this legal?

Our Response:
In this instance he would have to read the terms and conditions of his employment contract to see what it specifies regarding his probationary period. If it doesn't give him the answer he would have to give AC AS a call to see where he stands legally.
WorkingRights - 10-Jul-17 @ 3:49 PM
My husband started a new job on 5th December 2016. As per his contract his probationary period was 6 months. He has never been signed off. It is now 7 months so the assumption is that he passed. However he is now being demoted and moved to another office where the company plan to start his probation again. Is this legal?
CRH - 10-Jul-17 @ 1:15 PM
Jrosevic - Your Question:
I have been working extra hours due to staff shortages, working 10-15 hours a day, 5 days a week to ensure all the work got done. I have been in the role for 6 weeks but have just been signed off by the doctor for exhaustion and depression due to the long hours I was working. I have now received a letter from my employer terminating my employment immediately with no reason stated. I was on a 3 month probationary period - should a reason be given? I also haven't been paid for any of the extra hours and have been told by my employer that I will only be paid for my contracted hours. Yet they asked me to work the extra hours, plus made me fill in a time sheet, which I have a copy of. Where do I stand on asking for the money owed?

Our Response:
If you have worked extra hours you should be paid for these. If you are not you can apply to the small claims court. With regards to your probationary period, there is little you can do regarding this as your employer is within its rights to dismiss you if it thinks you are not right for the job. While your employer could have done it in a more professional manner, you have no grounds to claim unfair dismissal.
WorkingRights - 6-Jul-17 @ 2:27 PM
I have been working extra hours due to staff shortages, working 10-15 hours a day, 5 days a week to ensure all the work got done. I have been in the role for 6 weeks but have just been signed off by the doctor for exhaustion and depression due to the long hours I was working. I have now received a letter from my employer terminating my employment immediately with no reason stated. I was on a 3 month probationary period - should a reason be given? I also haven't been paid for any of the extra hours and have been told by my employer that I will only be paid for my contracted hours. Yet they asked me to work the extra hours, plus made me fill in a time sheet, which I have a copy of. Where do I stand on asking for the money owed?
Jrosevic - 5-Jul-17 @ 10:41 AM
frank - Your Question:
Hi. I have worked my 3 month probation period but this was extended to another 3 as there wasn't time to finish the meeting this didn't take place so as far as I'm aware I'm still on probation I've since then handed in my notice which was to terminate on 12th july, but because I was continually picked on by a member of staff I decided to leave early. they are now saying that they wont pay me.my question is even though I gave a months notice , as I was still in my probation period did I have to give a month?

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract to find this out. However, your employer has to pay you for the hours you have worked. But your employer does not have to pay you for the rest of the notice period if you are not working it.
WorkingRights - 26-Jun-17 @ 1:00 PM
hi. I have worked my 3 month probation period but this was extended to another 3 as there wasn't time to finish the meeting this didn't take place so as far as I'm aware I'm still on probation I've since then handed in my notice which was to terminate on 12th july, but because I was continually picked on by a member of staff I decided to leave early. they are now saying that they wont pay me. my question is even though I gave a months notice , as I was still in my probation period did I have to give a month?
frank - 24-Jun-17 @ 12:56 AM
Hello. I am classed as a disabled person as I have a physical disability which has deteriorated over the years.The disability is in my hips, legs, knees, feet and lower back.I have therefore been able to take a taxi to and from work for many years via Access to Work. On 18 April 2017, I started a new job in Old Trafford, Manchester and I have to travel from Cadishead in Manchester, which is quite a long way.I advised Access to Work and, to cut a long story short, it took them several weeks to agree to help with the fares to and from work.Therefore, for some days over the last month, I have had to pay a taxi company for my journeys and, when I could no longer afford this, I have had to suffer getting a train and tram to/from work.The tram and train journeys have mainly been from work.It was a long walk for me from where I was working on Brindley Road to Trafford Bar.I have checked online and I have found it is a 7 minute walk.However, due to my walking difficulties and having to use a walking stick, it would take me around 20 minutes plus - depending on how many times I had to stop due to the pain.It was all uphill which caused me further problems. My Team Leader was aware that I am disabled and I had often discussed with her where I was up to with Access to Work and how it was becomming more and more painful for me to walk to the tram station.Therefore, I told her that I had had to increase the medication that I have been prescribed.I take Tramadol, Naproxen for the pain and Fluoxetine for stress.I had to increase the Fluoxetine due to becoming very stressed about fighting against Access to Work.My doctor has advised me that stress can exacerbate any form of pain. I had been unable to sleep properly at night and, with the increase of my medication, I became very, very tired.However, I had gone to work and coped in the best way that I could. The company I was working for is a Facilities Management company and I have carried out the same type of work since around 2009 so I am used to it.My Team Leader didn't appear to have anyproblems with my work for the first couple of weeks.However, for the next two weeks she has found fault in almost everything that I was doing.Therefore, she decided to bring my probationary period forward to 11 May 2017, due to my "performance". I had already advised her that I didn't think the training that I had received had been very good and that I had been training myself when I had found some time.I also advised her about being forced to increase my medication and advised her why. I then went on to state that although the training hadn't been very good, I felt that the increase in the medication might have been slowing me down a little and that I now felt that I was suffering from physical and mental exhaustion.However, she told me that I had not declared that I was disabled to the company.I advised her that whenever I send my CV to a potential employer, I send my co
Ali - 28-May-17 @ 5:00 PM
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