Do you want to put your new employee probation in case he doesn’t work out? Be careful, it could backfire!

Taryn Strugnell, 15 Jan. 2016

Tags: employee probation, new employee, probation

So, you've just hired a new employee, and you want to put him on 3 months' probation. This way, you think it'll be easier to let him go when it turns out he isn't all he said he was in the interview. Be careful though, employees on probation have the same rights as permanent employees and you can't just dismiss him!

But, you can use the probation period to assess his performance ability and suitability for the job.

Keep reading to find out the procedure you must follow if you want to dismiss a probationer...

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What is a probation period?

A probation period is a length of time you use to check if an employee is suitable for the job. This is normally three or six months. You can use it to evaluate his performance before confirming permanent employment.

Use the time to work with him to monitor and correct areas of poor performance.
An employee on probation is an employee in all respects, except that permanent employment is conditional on him successfully completing his probation.

You still have to follow fair procedure if you choose to terminate a probationer's employment.

Probationers are still entitled to a fair procedure before dismissal. You can't simply tell the employee he hasn't made it.

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Follow this procedure before dismissing employees on probation

You  must give the employee a chance to say what he thinks is the cause of the non-performance. He must also say what he thinks should be done in order to overcome the problem. The foregoing is a requirement. It must be done. The Code of Good Practice – Dismissal, gives very clear guidelines on this…

So, at the end of the probation period, you can't just dismiss him. You must be able to show that you've done evaluation, counseling, guidance and training with the employee and you've given him a reasonable chance to state his case. You must also give him a chance and to state what he thinks is the cause of the problem. He must also give, and implement, measures he suggests to rectify the problem.

Keep a paper trail of all plans, discussions, counselling etc. so you can prove everything you did, if you need to at the CCMA. See the Labour Law for Managers handbook for all the detailed written record you must keep. Click here if you don't have a copy yet.




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