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Probationary Period – What rights do employees have?

Just because an employee are on their probation period, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have any statutory rights. It’s important for businesses to understand and comply with the rights employees hold.

A probation period doesn’t have a special legal status, so employees who are on probation have the same statutory employment rights, as all other employees. They are entitled to national minimum wage, statutory sick pay and are protected against unlawful discrimination – along with all the other statutory rights.

Not only this, but employees who are on probation usually only have a short period of service with the company, therefore are unable to claim unfair dismissal. Ordinary unfair dismissal requires two years’ service.

However, an employee on probation can claim they have been dismissed for an automatically unfair reason or unlawful discrimination. So when dealing with performance issues or disciplinary during a probation period, you should be able to demonstrate the grounds were genuine.

If a grievance is raised by an employee on probation, this should be investigated as it could relate to discriminatory behaviour or unlawful treatment. Failure to address these things, could result in a claim against the business – which could be costly!

Finally if an employee doesn’t pass their probation then you may have to terminate the contract. Although they are on probation, you still will need to comply with statutory notice as a minimum, or provide the notice which is stated in their employment contract.

The above is not a comprehensive list of rights which employees on probation hold, for more details on what you should and should not do, contact us on 01909 512 120 or email info@loftusstowe.com

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Femi Ogunshakin Managing Director
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