“If I could sum up why I’m committed to the HR Girlfriends community it would come down to because we are ‘….in this together.'”

~Sana’ Rasul, Chief Girlfriend

Q&A: Can we extend a new employee’s probationary period? They aren’t meeting expectations yet.

You can extend an introductory period, but I would recommend a different approach. I’d also advise against using the word “probationary.” I’ll explain both points.

Extending the Introductory Period
First things first, be aware that having an introductory period for new employees has no legal impact on the employment relationship. Terminations during that time still come with risk (so problems should be discussed and documented) and terminated employees can still file for unemployment insurance. Extending the introductory period doesn’t mitigate risk or affect your rights and responsibilities as an employer.

If a new employee has reached the end of their introductory period and they aren’t performing up to your expectations—but you still think they have potential—I’d recommend implementing a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). This kind of plan allows you to detail the company’s expectations with respect to their performance and will provide for follow-up meetings to discuss the employee’s progress. Upon the conclusion of the PIP, you make a decision as to the employee’s continued employment.

Probationary v. Introductory
We strongly recommend using the word “introductory” instead of “probationary” for a few reasons. First, probationary has a punitive ring to it, and sounds a bit like the employee is already in trouble even though they’ve just started working for you. Second, and perhaps more importantly, at least one court has ruled that the term “probationary period” implies greater employment rights upon the completion of the period. Essentially, its use could interfere with the at-will relationship between the company and employees. For these reasons, we suggest using the term “introductory period” instead.

Answer from Kara, JD, SPHR:

Kara practiced employment law for five years and worked in Human Resources for several years prior to that. As an attorney, she worked on many wage and hour and discrimination claims in both state and federal court. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oregon State University and earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.

Leave a comment

Never miss an opportunity to earn HRCI/SHRM credits, identify a mentor, or connect 1:1 with another HR Girlfriend in your city or across the country.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Author picture

HR Girlfriends™ is a Human Resources networking organization dedicated to advancing the practice and culture of people empowerment. Our team of Girlfriends consult, train, educate, develop, share, promote, and advocate for solutions in the field of human resource management.

Are You IN?
Or Are You OUT?

It’s time you join forces with a community of like-minded peers ready to tackle the issues unique to the women of HR.
  • All
  • Affirmations
  • Career Monday
  • COVID-19
  • CyberSAFE
  • Guest Blogger
  • HR Advisor Newsletter
  • HR Certifications
  • HR Compliance
  • HR Law Alert
  • HR Q&A
  • HR Reading
  • HR Reel Talk
  • Join Our Team - Apply Now
  • Membership
  • Talent Management
All
  • All
  • Affirmations
  • Career Monday
  • COVID-19
  • CyberSAFE
  • Guest Blogger
  • HR Advisor Newsletter
  • HR Certifications
  • HR Compliance
  • HR Law Alert
  • HR Q&A
  • HR Reading
  • HR Reel Talk
  • Join Our Team - Apply Now
  • Membership
  • Talent Management
Affirmations

Affirmation: Setting Priorities Helps Me To Be Patient With Goals

I go through life patiently pursuing my goals. I am able to achieve a sense of calmness because I prioritize. Doing first things first helps ...
Read More →
Career Monday

Career Monday: How To Deal With Isolation When You’re Self Employed

Working alone sounds great. No one steals the last cup of coffee, and there’s no boss telling you to get to work. There’s one big ...
Read More →
HR Q&A

Q&A: Do Exempt Employees Get Their Full Pay for Partial-Week Furloughs?

Yes, salaried exempt employees must be paid their full weekly salary if they do any work during your designated seven-day workweek, including tasks as quick ...
Read More →
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap