Probationary periods, pointless?


An employee will need two years continuous service before they accrue the statutory right to issue and unfair dismissal claim.

Author: Roxanne Bradley
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 3 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

Some may say a probationary period is pointless, because new employees can only claim unfair dismissal once they’ve accrued two years’ service.

Unfair dismissal – this is where a dismissal doesn’t fall within one of the potentially fair statutory reasons to dismiss. Which are, conduct, capability, redundancy, illegality or some other substantial reason. An employee will need two years continuous service before they accrue the statutory right to issue and unfair dismissal claim.

It has been suggested, due to the employee’s now requiring two years’ service before being able to bring a claim, that the probationary period is pointless.

However, whilst an employee is within a probationary period, an employer can dismiss as they see fit however from day one of employment, the employee has the right not to be discriminated against due to race, pregnancy ect so if you do dismiss an employee without good reason you may still find yourself receiving an tribunal claim if they employee has a protected characteristic.

Probationary periods tend to last between three to six months and offers a number of benefits. With the correct wording, you can provide for a much shorter notice period. The new employee will be aware that their performance is under constant review and that they are at risk of losing their job if their conduct or performance isn’t up to scratch.

If you dismiss the employee during the probationary period, you will be in a better position to defend a discrimination claim if you had good work related reasons for the dismissal.

It is an employers choice whether to use a probation period however they do send a clear message to new employees that the job is not guarantee until suitability has been proven.

Roxanne Bradley

Legal Advisor

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.