If you are about to accept a job offer, asking “what rights does an employee have while on probation period?” is a vital step to entering the employment agreement in style.

While Premier Legal can provide a range of services for employees, it’s always wise to understand your rights and terms of employment. This quick guide will answer all of your key questions, including but not limited to; “what rights does an employee have while on probation period?” and “what happens at the end of probation?”.

How Long is a Probation Period?

Probation periods are used to establish a trial period at the beginning of an employment agreement. While they are not mandatory, most employers now use them when recruiting new workers. So, given that the average employee changes jobs every five years, it can serve several functions, such as;

  • Giving the employer a chance to confirm that you are a good fit for the company,
  • Allowing the employer to check you have the skills needed to perform the role,
  • Allowing you to confirm that the company and position are suitable,
  • Giving you a chance to familiarise yourself with company procedures and codes of conduct.

If you’re wondering “how long is a probation period?”, the most common answer is either three months or six months. However, it can be as short as one week. So, it’s important that you seek confirmation from your employer before accepting a job offer.

The confirmation should be provided in writing as a part of your contract.

What Rights Does an Employee Have While on Probation Period?

Under UK employment law, all employees are protected by their statutory rights from the very first day of their employment – even if you are under probation.

This means that you will be protected by the national minimum wage and living wage legislation, as well as protection against workplace discrimination and the right to an itemised pay statement. Working time regulations are also included under the statutory employment agreements.

Another commonly asked question is “do I accrue holiday whilst on my probation period?”. The short answer is that you will begin to accumulate annual leave days from the very first day of your employment, including your probation.

You can then use these later in the year or take them as paid leave at the end of your probation if your permanent employment is not confirmed. It is possible to take days off during your probation, but you may wish to avoid taking too many days off as it could impact your hopes of passing the probation period.

On a side note, you also have the right to maternity leave and statutory sick pay, just as any other worker would. However, employers may implement restrictions relating to bonus schemes, private health care agreements and notice periods.

What Happens at the End of Probation?

Generally speaking, there are three potential outcomes at the end of a probation period. An employer can do one of the following;

  • Confirm that (if you accept) permanent employment has commenced,
  • End your employment because you have not passed the probation period,
  • Extend the probation period.

Many employees ask “what happens if my probation ended but no confirmation?”. It is generally accepted that probation has ended as long as it did not result in termination or extension. However, employers are allowed to complete their final review after the probation period has ended – within a fair time period. Often the contract will state that satisfactory completion of the probationary period will be confirmed to you in writing.

However, the employer hired you because you impressed at the interview stage. So, assuming that you live up to expectations, it is likely that permanent employment will be offered at the end of the probation process.

Passing Probation: Top Tips

Knowing the answer to “what rights does an employee have while on probation period?” is one thing. However, you should also use this as your chance to secure permanent employment and create a winning impression that could fast-track your progress within the company.

To make the most of your probation, you should look to;

  • Show confidence and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or feedback,
  • Establish good working relationships with your peers and managers,
  • Go the extra mile by volunteering for additional tasks,
  • Showcase good time management and organisational skills,
  • Produce the best work that you can.

A probation period is nothing to fear, especially when you have Premier Legal on your side. As well as being a chance for employers to assess you, it is a chance for you to test the waters too. If you need help from any of our employment law or HR experts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly advisors today!