Are Probation Periods Still Relevant?

Did you know that probationary periods of employment are no longer a key determinant of a terminated employee's right to lodge an unfair dismissal claim?

Indeed, the key determinant is now whether or not the employee was still within their minimum employment period, as defined by the Fair Work Act, at the time of termination (6 months in the case of a business with 15 or more employees and 12 months in the case of a business with less than 15 employees). Whether a probationary period of employment was in operation at the time of termination is no longer relevant.

That said, probationary employment periods still serve a purpose and we recommend to our clients that all new employees be engaged for an initial probationary period of 3 or (usually) 6 months. The primary reason for this is that it sets a clear expectation and establishes arrangements for close review of the employee's performance within this initial period of employment.

Establishing a process for regular review and two-way feedback conversations during this period is often key to the ongoing success of the relationship.


This article provides general information only and may not apply in all cases. It should not be regarded as legal advice and you should check to ensure the information is current. If you have concerns, you should seek advice relating to your specific situation.

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