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Probation neither confirmed nor extended

(24 Posts)
tribpot Wed 26-Nov-14 19:55:18

I posted about this a little while ago on someone else's thread but it's now nine months since I started a new job - which had a six month probation period - and I am still on probation. I have never been formally notified of the company's intention to extend the probation.

When I wrote in September, I still had a bunch of meetings to arrange with random people it was deemed I needed to meet in order to complete my probation. My line manager has now made some attempt to arrange them and basically no-one showed up. (One guy did, for 10 minutes).

I've decided I've had e-bloody-nough. I'd like to present evidence to them that they haven't extended my probation so I'm not on it any more. I've come across this but obviously it is just a blog so not really chapter and verse. I think this probably indicates what I want (the probation bit is slightly below where this link will take you) but any advice would be welcome.

flowery Wed 26-Nov-14 20:00:37

What does your contract say?

tribpot Wed 26-Nov-14 20:32:28

Thanks flowery. The offer letter says "there will be a six month probationary period" (and notes I can't join the pension scheme til I complete it, although obv rules have changed since then about compulsory pensions).

In the contract it says:

"The first six months of your employment will be considered probationary.

Your employment during this probationary period may be terminated by one weeks' notice [btw loving that incorrect apostrophe]. Thereafter your notice period will be set at three months".

I can't see anything else.

LadySybilLikesCake Wed 26-Nov-14 20:35:06

The HR where I work forgot to confirm mine and did it verbally (2 months after they should have done this). Maybe yours are just overwhelmed and haven't got around to it yet. Have you asked?

GahBuggerit Wed 26-Nov-14 20:35:15

i believe you have automatically passed if its not been extended. probation periods are rather meaningless as you dont get full rights for 2 years

tribpot Wed 26-Nov-14 20:46:57

HR are chasing my line manager to get all these probationary meetings done, LadySybil, saying that I am still on probation.

GahBuggerit, I agree about employment rights but I am not eligible for bonuses whilst on probation (although bonuses are exceptionally unlikely at the mo) and I think my pension contributions are limited as well.

flowery Wed 26-Nov-14 21:01:13

If that's literally all it says then congratulations you passed probation on the day you completed 6 months' service.

tribpot Wed 26-Nov-14 21:08:22

Okay I have another document called the induction diary. (This is not referenced in my contract). It states "the induction diary meetings must be completed and signed off before the probation will be considered to be completed".

tribpot Wed 26-Nov-14 21:09:36

Sorry, that wasn't a deliberate drip-feed, I've just never read this page of the document.

Figster Wed 26-Nov-14 21:12:06

You have passed it if they don't acknowledge the end you pass by default

flowery Thu 27-Nov-14 15:03:29

Generally the contract takes precedence, unless it refers to an external document or something similar. They could have drafted the contract to say you will be notified in writing of passing probation, they could have said it may be extended at managers discretion, they could even have said it will be deemed to be extended unless and until you are notified that it has been completed. But they chose not to put those things in. If it literally says the first six months is probation with no reference to extension, conditions etc etc then my opinion is you have passed it.

tribpot Thu 27-Nov-14 17:37:47

Thanks both. And flowery you don't think the clause in the 'induction diary' would be used by the company when I raise this with them? I would argue that's a document indicating good practice but since my contract makes no mention of anything related to it (or anything to do with the satisfactory completion of my probation) they can bog off if they think I am doing any more of these meetings. I expect to have the probation confirmed and thus my eligibility for staff benefits back dated to 3 months ago.

maggiethemagpie Thu 27-Nov-14 18:20:44

Could you be bullish and ask them to send you confirmation that you've passed your probation?

I remember you, I had a similar probation issue to you at a similar time. I'm still waiting to be signed off but as no one has done any reviews or mentioned it, despite saying that the reason I couldn't be signed off at six months was because no one had done any reviews, I'm not bothering to take any action myself. If they try and extend it again I will walk.

tribpot Wed 03-Dec-14 11:18:56

Just a quick update - the HR director has confirmed to me today "contractually you are still on probation".

As this is bollocks, I will be taking legal advice.

flowery Wed 03-Dec-14 12:27:30

That is such nonsense. Contractually, as in, in your contract, it makes no provision for probation to be extended and limits it to 6 months only. It puts no other conditions on it. If the HR department wanted conditions put on probation, and wanted managers to be able to extend it, with or without writing to that effect, they should have put that in, but they chose not to because they must be rubbish at drafting

is your manager supporting you in this?

tribpot Wed 03-Dec-14 12:44:10

My manager and his boss are doing a sort of hand-wringing "I apologise that this situation [caused by us] has arisen". I don't think either of them know anything about contract law either.

The HR director is about to be made redundant, so I intend to get a solicitor to write a rude letter to the incoming HR director of the parent company. I imagine new HR director might have a few words to say about this.

I appreciate that the matter is almost immaterial (HR director has confirmed it doesn't affect pension contributions but it does affect performance related pay) but it's now the principle of the thing. What else can I do but seek legal advice when the legal advice given to me by the organisation is simply incorrect?

flowery Wed 03-Dec-14 13:08:05

Your bosses sound ineffectual. Much as we might like to be grin, HR people are not actually in charge. It doesn't matter whether your bosses understand contract law. Even if there was a contractual requirement to meet with x people before probation can be completed, the appropriate level boss in your department could notify HR that your probation has been completed and they should activate the appropriate benefits etc

tribpot Wed 03-Dec-14 13:58:01

Yes - they are well-meaning but ultimately clueless. Under the previous regime (our chief exec departed earlier in the year) the HR director wielded a great deal of power by proxy and I think a challenge like 'I run this department and I say the probation is complete' would have consequences, after which likely neither statement would be true. Happy days.

KarenHillavoidJimmyswarehouse Wed 03-Dec-14 21:05:20

They're talking bollocks. This happened to my ex-colleague. She wasn't very good at her job and it was clear they wanted her gone. They ballsed up on the dates and when the (contractual) six month probation period was up, they missed it by days. She was able to dig up a few cases where this had happened and the rulings were basically "it is up to the employer to manage a probation period and they cannot choose to extend it after the probation period has passed unless it was expressly discussed during the probation period". She quoted these examples and they didn't fight it - it was important as for us, the notice period extended from one month to three after completion of a successful probation period so even though she ended up leaving anyway, she left with three times as much money.

tribpot Wed 03-Dec-14 22:32:45

Thanks Karen - yes, it's just laughable to think that I would just believe their assertion that I am still 'contractually' on probation, without digging up evidence just as your former colleague did.

They might have a hard time making a case for performance concerns, though, given they gave me a prize a couple of months ago for my work on a particular contract. God forbid these people ever actually did have to manage someone out during their probation - they wouldn't have a hope.

tribpot Thu 04-Dec-14 21:19:04

So today my line manager has told me he's 'asked' for the probation to be end-dated on 17th August. I don't think he realises this is unlikely to be successful.

He has also said can I bring along the induction paper to the company day next week and just get people to sign it without doing any induction activities. Not a bloody chance.

I have noted I am currently on one week's notice.

tribpot Fri 05-Dec-14 13:47:23

Today's update: HR refuse to confirm my induction.

It turns out there are a number of other people in the same situation.

Naoko Wed 10-Dec-14 22:18:58

Are they using it as a stick to beat people with? Happened to my DP. He was on probation for 18 months in his previous job, it was ridiculous. Everyone who made any sort of noise about all the things that were wrong with the place got their probation extended, up to and including asking why your probation hadn't been signed off yet. It was their rather messed up way of making sure no one felt comfortable enough to actually get formal.

tribpot Thu 18-Dec-14 18:05:12

I don't know Naoko - sorry, I've only just seen your post. I do think they use it as a stick to beat people with, you basically are forced to comply if you ever want to be eligible for a bonus. Even yesterday my boss was still trying to explain to HR 'she will not comply with your process because she believes that contractually she is not on probation' and they were still claiming 'she is contractually still on probation', refusing to look at the contract to see where this was stated.

Anyway, today, however, I've both spoken to my solicitor (confirmed my reading of the contract is correct) and resigned confused So the point is moot - they can't very well hold me to a three month notice period now, having claimed I'm still on probation. So we've agreed on 31st December.

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