Probationary or Trial Periods

We have been asked recently about the present position regarding probationary or trial periods in employment agreements. There have been some moves afoot in recent times to amend the law in that regard but be warned – the law has NOT changed! The existing position remains. So – what is the present position then? The present position is expressed in section 67 of the employment Relations Act 2000 and provides firstly that any probationary or trial period must be set out in writing in the employment agreement, and secondly, if the employee’s employment is terminated at the end of a probationary period, the existing law applicable to unjustifiable dismissals continues to apply. What does this mean exactly? Well, in simple terms, it means that an employer will only be justified in dismissing an employee if the employer has a sufficiently good reason for the dismissal AND has followed an objectively fair process in arriving at the decision to dismiss. If either of these aspects are not followed then an employee may be able to launch a successful personal grievance claim.

If you need to know anything further, particularly in terms of what constitutes a fair process, please feel free to contact us.

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