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Are you using the 90 day trial period correctly?

You’ve realised you’ve hired a dud, you’re in the 90 day trial period, you dismiss them, done and dusted, no worries… Only if you get your process right

But wait there’s more…

A number of employers have discovered the hard way that having a trial period in an employment agreement isn’t always enough.  If the trial period isn’t valid, or you don’t follow a process, you may be faced with a personal grievance and incur expensive legal costs plus lost wages and hurt and humiliation payments.

Keep reading to make sure you avoid this being you!

So, what’s a trial period?

Trial periods allow an employer and employee to agree that for up to 90 days from the beginning of the employment relationship, the employer can dismiss the employee without the employee being able to take a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal.  There doesn’t need to be a reason for the dismissal, and although there are still some “general” procedural requirements, it’s not the same requirements as it would be in other terminations.

What needs to be in place to have a valid trial period?

1)      You need to verbally raise the trial period with the employee at the initial offer stage and then refer to it in your offer letter and agreement

2)      A ‘valid trial period’ clause must be in your employment agreement – if you don’t have one People Passion can help you

3)      You must give the employee an opportunity and time to get advice and consider the employment agreement before they start work – usually at least three working days

4)      The employment agreement must be signed by both parties before the employee starts work for the trial period to be valid.  If the employee gives it to you on the first day after their start time then the trial period is no longer valid!   Make sure you make arrangements to receive a signed copy before they start work!

Which employees can have a trial period? 

Anyone who hasn’t previously been employed by the employer can have a trial period included in their employment agreement.  Note that even if the employee was employed by you 10 years ago as a casual employee, then they have previously worked for you and a trial period cannot be included.

Managing an employee during a trial period

Termination under the trial period should not come as a “surprise” for the employee.  It’s good practice to regularly meet with an employee during the trial period and communicate your concerns with them.   We recommend you meet to review at the 40 and 80 day marks.  People Passion has easy online surveys for these plus calendar reminders.

Where an employee is not performing they should be reminded they are under the trial period and that their employment may be terminated during that time. You should give them time to improve before considering termination.  If you decide to dismiss them its super important that you follow proper process and you must give notice as per their employment agreement.

If the trial period is successful, meet at the 90th day with your employee and discuss further goals and expectations.

If you’re thinking bugger this, it’s in the too hard to do bin, take advantage of People Passion’s expertise, they keep things simple and cost effective.

Also, use this handy online calendar for correct dates.