Probation is a period within which to determine if a person is suited to the job and the organisation. During probation you have the opportunity to ensure the best outcome for both parties. A successful probation period will provide you with a structured means of assessment and evaluation.
Who does probation apply to?
All continuing and fixed term staff members have a probationary period when they start with Macquarie University. Probation does not apply to casual staff. Probation may be considered, but does not normally apply to:
- a second or subsequent fixed-term appointment to the same position or to an essentially similar position
- secondments or promotions
How long is probation?
The duration of a staff member’s probation is included in their letter of offer. Academic staff will generally have a probationary period of two years, however in some instances they may have a period of one year, or up to three years. Professional staff will generally have a probationary period of 6 months. A longer probationary period of up to 12 months may be appropriate for roles where a longer period is needed to assess competence in the role.
It may be appropriate to extend the probation period if the staff member has taken a period of leave (e.g. leave without pay, personal leave, parental leave) greater than 4 weeks, and more time is required to assess performance.
The probation process
Probation review meetings
Probation review meetings facilitate conversation about performance expectations, feedback and required support for a new staff member in the initial period of their employment.
Whilst the process generally includes three meetings, a continual dialogue between you and your staff member about performance expectations and progress will support the staff member to perform at their best. You don’t need to wait for a probation meeting to have a discussion.
- Initial probation meeting to plan performance objectives
- Mid-point review meeting to review progress and provide feedback where the probation period is three months or longer
- Final review meeting to review performance and provide a recommendation to confirm or terminate employment. The final review is held one month before the end of the probation period.
Use the probation form to record the outcomes of each probation review meeting. The form is confidential and should be retained in a secure manner at all times. After the final review meeting, send the completed probation form to your HR Client Services Team to be placed on the staff member’s file.
At the end of the probation period, you will make a recommendation to either confirm or terminate employment. You should make this recommendation at least one month before the end of the probation period and advise your staff member of your recommendation.
If your recommendation is to terminate employment, please advise your HR Client Services Team to assist you. Academic staff can appeal against the decision to terminate within probation, where their probationary period is longer than one year. The Academic Staff Enterprise Agreement provides further details.
It is important to be aware of any external issues your staff member may be facing that may be affecting their ability to meet performance expectations and to consider these. If you have concerns about the performance of your staff member at any point during probation, contact your HR Client Services Team to discuss your concerns as early as possible
If you have any questions regarding probation please contact your HR Client Services Team. The following links provide further information on probation: