Sack any time first two years - so what’s the point of probation periods?

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I’ve often seen it written “can be sacked any time in the first two years”, so why do most of the companies I’ve worked for have a 6 month probation period and does it trump the two year mark? 
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  • Undervalued
    Undervalued Posts: 8,852 Forumite
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    No it doesn't.

    Passing "probation" may convey certain contractual rights, such as more holiday, pay, bonus etc.
  • YBR
    YBR Posts: 552 Forumite
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    In the normal contracts for my company, either the company or the employee can walk away with very short notice (possibly a week). After that it's normally 3 months notice.
    Of course that's not universal.
  • 400ixl
    400ixl Posts: 2,795 Forumite
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    No, for most companies its an HR process for them to be alerted about performance by the line managers or trigger other benefits.
  • JReacher1
    JReacher1 Posts: 4,652 Forumite
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    Passing probation tends to unlock additional employee benefits. Also often under probation it will be a shorter notice period. 
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,024 Forumite
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    JReacher1 said:
    Passing probation tends to unlock additional employee benefits. Also often under probation it will be a shorter notice period. 
    The other 'point' of probation periods is that it gives formal opportunities for review, which might otherwise slip past. If someone's good, their manager gets the chance to tell them that. If they're OK, then they can be told what they could improve. And if they are on a downward trajectory to being let go, they can have fair warning of that. 

    That review is also valid from the employee's point of view, knowing that if you hate the place, you've usually got to give very little notice during probation. Even if your employer's review process is not very formal, you can work out for yourself if you want to stay or get out while you can!
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Doshwaster
    Doshwaster Posts: 6,136 Forumite
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    Savvy_Sue said:
    JReacher1 said:
    Passing probation tends to unlock additional employee benefits. Also often under probation it will be a shorter notice period. 
    The other 'point' of probation periods is that it gives formal opportunities for review, which might otherwise slip past. If someone's good, their manager gets the chance to tell them that. If they're OK, then they can be told what they could improve. And if they are on a downward trajectory to being let go, they can have fair warning of that. 

    That review is also valid from the employee's point of view, knowing that if you hate the place, you've usually got to give very little notice during probation. Even if your employer's review process is not very formal, you can work out for yourself if you want to stay or get out while you can!

    Some jobs just don't work out. I once quit at my end of Month 1 review as I already knew I was the wrong person for the position and I thought I'd get my resignation in first before being fired. My manager agreed and we settled on a one week notice period.

  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,203 Forumite
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    Yes, probation is about more than whether or not you can be dismissed, it's primarily a contractual rather than statutory facto.

    As others have said, often there iwill be ashorter notice period until probation has been complered, so f it is obvious that the job isn't a good fit neither party is stuck with a long notice period, and things such as pension enrolmnt often don't kick in immediately. 
    In a well run organisation, it can be useful in that it is  a fixed period woth formal review at the end to ensurethat both empoyer and employee have the same undestanding of how things are going, any areas that need further training to improvement etc 
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • Savesmartsunday
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    Ok crikey so that’s awful!
  • TheSpiddalKid
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    The other aspect as to why have a probation period from an employer's POV is that it assists with a defense against possible claims of discrimination. Tribunals will always be looking for a consistent approach, if an employer can show that all staff go through probation with a consistent approach taken in each case then it will help an employer to defend the claim. 
  • Doshwaster
    Doshwaster Posts: 6,136 Forumite
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    We have a 6 month probation with a 1, 3 and 6 month formal review

    The only time I've known anyone leave after the first month is if they want to - maybe they've changed their mind about the job , they've had a better offer elsewhere or they don't like the commute but it gives them an early escape route with only 1 weeks notice (which is sometimes waived). I've got out at this point in a previous job which just wasn't working out.

    Pass the 3 month review and you get into the pension scheme and a  couple of other benefits. Nobody ever fails this but it's a chance of do some course correction in terms of expectations, training and performance.

    Pass the 6 month review and probation ends, notice goes up to 1 or 3 months depending on job role and full benefits are obtained. On rare occasions probation is extended for another 2-3 months.
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