Probation

Probation

SUMMARY

The Probation Policy establishes the University's approach to staff probation periods. The Procedure details the steps and responsibilities to effectively use and manage the probationary period.

POLICY

PurposeTo detail the principles related to probation.

Overview

Probation:
  • is a process of assessment after which a decision will be made to either confirm or terminate employment
  • offers a period of mutual assessment during which a staff member's ability to satisfy the requirements of the position can be evaluated
  • requires a decision to be taken to confirm or terminate employment.
The objectives of a successful probationary period are to provide:
  • the supervisor with a structured means of assessment and evaluation
  • feedback on progress and performance
  • support and guidance for the staff member when taking on a new role.

Scope

This policy applies to all staff employed at Macquarie University.

It will be of particular relevance to all continuing and fixed-term staff members employed under the relevant industrial instrument who are subject to a probation period, and also supervisors.

Policy

The process will allow the determination as to whether the overall work performance of the staff member meets the University’s requirements for confirmation of employment.

Probation may be considered, but usually will not apply, in the case of a second or subsequent continuing appointment. This might occur when the type of employment and duties are substantially different, e.g. a move from a professional staff position to an academic staff position.

Probation will not apply when the type of employment is unchanged, in cases of transfer, secondment or promotion.

The staff member may apply for early review of probation.

PROCESS
The probation process will include:
  • an induction meeting
  • a mid-point review (where the probationary period is longer than three months), and
  • a final review (one month before the end of the probationary period)

The process will allow for feedback and staff support.

The staff member will have the opportunity to provide a response to the probationary review.

Employment will be confirmed or terminated before the end of the probationary period.

Where the supervisor recommends termination of employment and this is approved, notice periods in accordance with the relevant industrial instrument shall apply.

DURATION
The probationary period will allow sufficient time for a staff member to demonstrate competence in the position.

The duration of any probationary period will be in accordance with the staff member’s relevant industrial instrument. Continuing and fixed-term professional staff members may be subject to a probationary period of up to 12 months. Academic staff may be subject to a probationary period of up to three years. The length of the probationary period should be appropriate to the nature of the work being undertaken. The period will be specified in the offer of employment.

A probationary period cannot be extended except in circumstances where an assessment of performance cannot be made due to a staff member taking a period of approved leave (eg leave without pay, personal leave, parental leave) that is greater than four weeks. In these circumstances the end date for probation may be extended.

APPEAL (Academic Staff)
An academic staff member employed on a probation period of greater than one year and whose termination has been approved by the Executive Dean / Head of Office will be entitled to appeal against the decision.

An Appeal Committee constituted by the Director, Human Resources, will consider the appeal.

COMPLIANCE AND BREACHES
The University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a person to whom this policy applies breaches this policy (or any of its related procedures).

Policy Information

Contact OfficerManager, Employee Relations
Date Approved2 February 2011
Approval AuthorityDirector, Human Resources
Date of Commencement2 February 2011
Amendment HistoryOctober 2011 - updated to incorporate the requirements of the Macquarie University Enterprise Agreement 2010 and the Macquarie University Academic Staff Enterprise Agreement 2011; inclusion of compliance and breaches statement
February 2011 – alignment with new Macquarie University Enterprise Agreement 2010
Date for Next ReviewFebruary 2014
Related Documents

Macquarie University Enterprise Agreement
Performance Development and Review Policy
Probation Factsheet / Procedure
Recruitment, Selection and Appointment Policy
Staff Code of Conduct

Policies / Rules Superseded by this PolicyProbation Policy approved 24 June 2008.
KeywordsProbation, Professional Staff, Continuing, Fixed Term, Performance Development and Review

PROCEDURE

PurposeTo detail the steps and responsibilities associated with the effective use and management of the probationary period.

Procedure

This procedure requires actions by the following:
  • Academic Staff Member
  • Director, Human Resources
  • Executive Dean/Head of Office
  • Human Resources Officer
  • Staff member
  • Supervisor
This procedure comprises the following topics:
  • Induct
  • Review performance and progress
  • Request early review
  • Extend probationary period due to approved leave
  • Review request for extension of probation due to approved leave
  • Perform final review prior to the end of the probation period
  • Provide feedback
  • Confirm employment
  • Terminate employment

Supervisor

INDUCT

Meet with a staff member to provide an induction to the employee’s position and work environment. This is to be done within first week of employment.

Outline the expectations and support available for the probationary period. Complete the relevant sections of the appropriate Probation Form form: REVIEW PERFORMANCE AND PROGRESS

Confirm the performance standards, including any specific goals and outcomes, in writing within two weeks of employment.

Meet regularly with a staff member to discuss and provide feedback on their progress and performance.

Discuss any concerns about a staff member’s performance or behaviour as they arise and attempt to resolve the concerns promptly.

Ensure that a staff member has appropriate support to achieve the required performance standards.

Advise a staff member of the option to apply for an early review of probation.

If the probationary period is longer than three months conduct a mid-point review halfway through the probationary period.

Maintain accurate written records of performance and progress meetings and provide copies to a staff member.

Staff Member

REQUEST EARLY REVIEW
You may make a request (in writing) to your supervisor for early review.

Supervisor

EXTEND PROBATIONARY PERIOD DUE TO APPROVED LEAVE
Where an assessment of performance cannot be made due to a staff member taking a period of approved leave greater than four weeks, submit a request for the extension of the probationary period to your Executive Dean/Head of Office.

Executive Dean/Head of Office

Consider the request and make a recommendation to the Director, Human Resources to extend the probationary period.

Director, Human Resources

REVIEW REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF PROBATION DUE TO APPROVED LEAVE
Review extension request from the Executive Dean/Head of Office and, if approved, adjust the probationary period to provide a staff member with a total probationary period equivalent to the period stated in the employment instrument.

Supervisor

PERFORM FINAL REVIEW PRIOR TO THE END OF THE PROBATIONARY PERIOD

Conduct a final formal review meeting with the staff member, no later than one month prior to the expiration of the probationary period, to discuss the performance and conduct during the probationary period.

Provide the opportunity for the staff member to respond to the issues raised at review meetings.

Decide whether to recommend confirmation or termination of employment. The recommendation regarding employment will be based on probationary review meetings and the documented outcomes in the PDR report.

Document the final review meeting in the relevant PDR Form.

Provide the staff member with the opportunity to respond to the PDR report.

Maintain accurate written records of performance and progress meetings. Provide copies to the staff member.

Staff Member

PROVIDE FEEDBACK

You may provide written feedback to your supervisor about the PDR report. You must do this within the probationary period, allowing for sufficient time for review of the feedback.

Sign the PDR report to confirm receipt and understanding of the opportunity to provide written feedback.

Supervisor

CONFIRM EMPLOYMENT

Seek approval for the recommendation from the Executive Dean/Head of Office. The recommendation is to include the PDR report, supporting documents, and any written response from the staff member.

Advise the staff member of confirmation of employment.

Forward the completed documentation to Human Resources.

For a recommendation for termination of employment, see below.

Human Resources Officer

Process the Formal Probation Review Report.

This is the end of the probation process where the result is confirmation of employment.

Supervisor

TERMINATE EMPLOYMENT

Advise the staff member of the recommendation to terminate employment.

Seek approval for the recommendation from the Executive Dean/Head of Office. The recommendation is to include the PDR report, supporting documents, and any written response from the staff member.

State the reasons to terminate the employment in the Formal Probation Review Report clearly.

Forward the Formal Probation Review Report, PDR and supporting documents to the Director, Human Resources.

Executive Dean/ Head of Office

Review Termination Recommendation

Review Formal Probation Review Report documentation recommending termination.

Where approval is given, forward documentation to the Director, Human Resources for final review.

Director, Human Resources

Review Formal Probation Review Report for final approval

Notify Human Resources, Executive Dean/Head of Office and supervisor of your decision.

Where the decision is to confirm the recommendation to terminate a staff member’s employment, put the decision in writing, prior to the expiration of the probationary period.

Forward the Formal Probation Review Report to Remuneration Services for processing and record keeping.

Where the termination of a staff member’s employment is confirmed, instruct Remuneration Services to calculate the staff member’s entitlements and process final payment.

Academic Staff MemberAPPEAL
If appropriate, lodge an appeal within five working days of receiving the termination notification.
Director, Human Resources

Constitute an Appeal Committee

Consider the report of the Appeal Committee and either confirm the appointment of the academic staff member or confirm the decision of the Executive Dean / Head of Office to terminate employment.

Procedure Information

Contact OfficerManager, Employee Relations
Date Approved2 February 2011
Approval AuthorityDirector, Human Resources
Date of Commencement2 February 2011
Amendment HistoryJanuary 2017 – updated version of Probation Form for Professional Staff and Probation Form for Academic Staff
October 2014 – updated name of Form to complete
October 2011 - updated to incorporate the requirements of the Macquarie University Enterprise Agreement 2010 and the Macquarie University Academic Staff Enterprise Agreement 2011
February 2011 – alignment with new Macquarie University Enterprise Agreement 2010
Date for Next ReviewFebruary 2014
Related Documents

Macquarie University Enterprise Agreement
Performance Development and Review Policy
Probation Factsheet
Probation Policy
Recruitment, Selection and Appointment Policy
Staff Code of Conduct

FORMS
Probation Form for Professional Staff
Probation Form for Academic Staff
KeywordsProbation, Induction, Commencement, Extension, Performance Development and Review, Early Review, Confirmation of Employment, Termination of Employment, Feedback
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