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What Are My Rights During A Probation Period?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 16 Sep 2017 | 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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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
Pagie - Your Question:
Hi,I left a senior salaried role within 4 months of my 6 months probation. Beings as I've only undertaken 4 months and have not completed my probation am I entitled to receive the holiday pay I would have accrued. I calculate if I'm right I'm owed 6 days pay, am I right in the assumption I should be paid this money

Our Response:
Regardless of whether you were on probation or not, you would still be awarded holiday allowance as per the terms of your contract.
WorkingRights - 16-May-17 @ 12:57 PM
Hi, I left a senior salaried role within 4 months of my 6 months probation. Beings as I've only undertaken 4 months and have not completed my probation am I entitled to receive the holiday pay I would have accrued. I calculate if I'm right I'm owed 6 days pay, am I right in the assumption I should be paid this money
Pagie - 15-May-17 @ 10:34 PM
I was in my probationary period and got to the 5th month ( to be precise) and my manager had put lots of improvement areas . Previous 5 one to ones had notes stating i was progressing and no improvement arears. ( Bearing in mind the company had also sold a part of their business within the same month) . I tried to discuss the comments around the improvement arears and that i had not had these noted previously or beem made aware i was not able to do my role so this was a shock to me. I have had no previous improvement plans to help me or support to help me pass my probationary. On my 5th month one to one i had 2.5 weeks to improve ( still no improvement plan or support provided) then they decided that they would not extend my probationary and ended my employment . I found the whole scenario unreal and wrong as most of the managers comments were not true. Is there anything i can do about this as i feel if i havent been made aware within the last 5 months that i was underperforming then this is not a fair process . If anyone has any ideas , Solicitors etc who may be able to help me as soon as the sale went through this happened.
Keelo - 21-Apr-17 @ 7:50 PM
Lexie - Your Question:
I have just been sacked from my job for alleged constant criticism. I was still in my probationary period, but I was not told I would be in a probationary period or for how long, nor was I given or did I sign any contract. I was sacked via a telephone call, no warning, and no chance to defend myself. My alleged criticism was informing my work colleagues of their bad practice habits which was against the law and I tried to explain the consequences should they be caught. I was not given any hand books on there policies and procedures on confidentiality, greivences, or whistleblowing, so I have no idea where I stand.I have been told that I have a case for unfair dismissal due to them not following procedure. Is this the case

Our Response:
Employees can only claim unfair dismissal if they’ve worked for a qualifying period - unless they’re claiming for an automatically unfair reason, please see gov.uk link here.
WorkingRights - 6-Apr-17 @ 1:59 PM
I have just been sacked from my job for alleged constant criticism. I was still in my probationary period, but I was not told I would be in a probationary period or for how long, nor was I given or did I sign any contract. I was sacked via a telephone call, no warning, and no chance to defend myself. My alleged criticism was informing my work colleagues of their bad practice habits which was against the law and I tried to explain the consequences should they be caught. I was not given any hand books on there policies and procedures on confidentiality, greivences, or whistleblowing, so I have no idea where I stand. I have been told that I have a case for unfair dismissal due to them not following procedure. Is this the case
Lexie - 6-Apr-17 @ 2:27 AM
Som - Your Question:
I started job on contract stating 30hrs per week.It was rare I got these 30hrs.hours were up n down all the time.By the time they decided to get rid of me after 3 months probation, they were in defecit by 118 hrsThey say they dont have to pay as it was a probationary period.Is this true. It was definitely 30hr contract not zero hrs or I wouldn't have taken the job.I needed that 30 hrs to survive.So who is right?

Our Response:
You would have to read your contract fully to see whether there any clauses in the contract to say that your employer can reduce your contracted work hours, if the hours are not available. However, if you were contracted for 30 hours and there is no 'get out' clause, then your employer should pay you for the contracted hours. Not paying you your contracted hours has no relevance regarding probationary period. Once you have read your contract, you may wish to give ACAS a call to verify this.
WorkingRights - 8-Mar-17 @ 11:22 AM
I started job on contract stating 30hrs per week. It was rare i got these 30hrs...hours were up n down all the time. By the time they decided to get rid of me after 3 months probation,they were in defecit by 118 hrs They say they dont have to pay as it was a probationary period. Is this true.It was definitely 30hr contract not zero hrs or I wouldn't have taken the job..I needed that 30 hrs to survive. So who is right?
Som - 7-Mar-17 @ 10:48 AM
My Contract with a Company was terminated yesterday with no warning. I was just told that the girl that worked there previously wad coming back on Monday and I was out the door. I have had no Contract or Handbook or any reviews. I had been there since 5th December. Can they do this?
Jam - 4-Mar-17 @ 12:23 PM
S - Your Question:
Hey! I started my job in summer time and was given a three month probation period (everyone has to do it) for various reasons this was extended a further three months and meant to be reviewed on 2nd Feb it is now 20th Feb and I've still not had this meeting. I've mentioned to my manager and team senior that ive noticed it's over due and still nothing. Today I am having to phone in sick and absolutely panicking due to part of the terms in my probation extension being no sick days! Can they dismiss me for this when the meeting is over due?

Our Response:
Much depends upon what your contract specifies. Your contract might state that your probation period ends automatically on expiry of the probation period, or when confirmed by your employer. You really would have to speak to your employer directly as you have a right to know whether your probation has ended or whether it is to be extended. As a rule, if the probationary period expires without your employer taking action to dismiss you or to extend the period, you will be presumed to be confirmed in the role. However, please also be aware that an employee has to have cleared two years’ service before they can claim unfair dismissal.
WorkingRights - 21-Feb-17 @ 11:01 AM
Hey! I started my job in summer time and was given a three month probation period (everyone has to do it) for various reasons this was extended a further three months and meant to be reviewed on 2nd Feb it is now 20th Feb and I've still not had this meeting. I've mentioned to my manager and team senior that ive noticed it's over due and still nothing. Today I am having to phone in sick and absolutely panicking due to part of the terms in my probation extension being no sick days! Can they dismiss me for this when the meeting is over due?
S - 20-Feb-17 @ 8:35 AM
Sara - Your Question:
I was employed with a three month probationary period offered. At the end of this period I was dismissed for various trivial reasons that I did try to object to but it was apparent that my employer wanted to get rid of me. None of my comments or his were detailed in writing. Does the employer have to go through a proper procedure before my dismissal? The problem is that I had never signed the contract due to the majority of the information not applying to my particular role, this however has not stopped my employer from using my skills and paying me for three months. Should I construe that as he has paid me for the three months, he was acknowledging that I was in a contract

Our Response:
Employees are only protected against unfair dismissal once they have been employed for at least two years. An initial probation period (generally three to six months) gives an employer the opportunity to assess their new employee without fear of repercussion should they feel the employer is (for whatever reason) not suited to the role. While it would have been better practice for your employer to give you notice in writing - you still cannot claim unfair dismissal if he hasn't.
WorkingRights - 17-Feb-17 @ 11:53 AM
I was employed with a three month probationary period offered. At the end of this period I was dismissed for various trivial reasons that I did try to object to but it was apparent that my employer wanted to get rid of me. None of my comments or his were detailed in writing. Does the employer have to go through a proper procedure before my dismissal? The problem is that I had never signed the contract due to the majority of the information not applying to my particular role, this however has not stopped my employer from using my skills and paying me for three months. Should I construe that as he has paid me for the three months, he was acknowledging that I was in a contract
Sara - 16-Feb-17 @ 3:23 PM
Hi- my question refers to me having taken up s role within a company. I was employed by the company and the period I was there I wasn't told what they expected from me within my role and was left to ask separate individuals on what they themselves wanted me to cover. In week 4 an incident happened between 2 of my team members which I dealt with in an appropriate manner that I thought was right but this then went to the previous in charge of my role through the grapevine who then told me I should have taken a more strict approach and issued warnings. But I was told to watch out for this and make sure it doesn't happen again which I did. But within 3 days of that meeting I was taken in on the end of the shift and handed in a letter and told not to return to work. The letter was handed over to me by the supervisor with no presence of any HR member or senior manager it was just 2 of us. As I said I was only with the company for 4 weeks. Can they do this? Surely I should have given a job description? Should there not be a formal meeting to discuss my performance and given a timescale to rectify any issues and not just warned and then paid off a few days later with no representation.
Lucky - 7-Feb-17 @ 7:37 PM
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