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The Probation Period in the United Kingdom

Verified by 1 expert: Eleanor Hughes

The probation period in the UK job market serves as an initial phase of employment to assess the suitability of a new hire. Understanding this term is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure fair and legal practices.

What is the Probation Period?

Typically, the probation period in the UK ranges from three to six months but can be extended depending on the role and company policy. During this period, employers evaluate an employee’s performance, fit within the company, and, if necessary, ability to fulfill the role’s requirements.

During Your Probation

Vacations: Employees accrue vacation time from the start of their employment. However, companies may limit the use of accrued vacation days during the probation period. For comprehensive guidelines, Gov.UK provides detailed information on holiday entitlement.

Sick Leave: Probation does not affect statutory sick pay, and employees should follow the company’s sickness policy. The Gov.UK’s Statutory Sick Pay page offers clarity on sickness benefits.

Pregnancy: Pregnant employees or those on maternity leave are protected against unfair treatment or dismissal regardless of the probation period, as stated in the Equality Act 2010.

Quitting Your Job: The statutory minimum notice is one week if employed between one month and two years. Refer to ACAS’s guidelines for legal notice periods during probation.

After Your Probation

Job Security: The end of the probation period typically brings increased job security. Dismissal requires formal procedures, and employees gain full rights to claim unfair dismissal after two years of service.

Vacations: Once the probation period concludes, employees are entitled to their full annual leave for the year. The Gov.UK’s holiday entitlement calculator can help determine exact allowances.

For further information on probationary policies and employee rights, ACAS offers detailed advice and support. For queries on employment terms and unfair dismissal, Citizens Advice provides extensive resources.

Expert Verified

Eleanor Hughes is an advisor for NextGen, specializing in UK bureaucracy. Her expertise focuses on regulatory frameworks and compliance strategies, aiding businesses in navigating the complexities of the United Kingdom’s bureaucratic system.
Eleanor Hughes, UK Bureaucracy Insights Director, TNGB United Kingdom