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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50179
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I'm currently working as a consultant and my probation

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I'm currently working as a consultant and my probation period came to an end on the 4th July. No confirmation of this, the contract just says that "after successful completion of 6 months. But reserves the right to extend". Today the 02 August I've been called in a meeting to say that they are extending the probation, they handed me some feedback (development points) and said I need to write objectives then they'll decide how long it will be extended for. The feedback was a complete shock to me as I've not had regular reviews and thought everything was great (getting feedback from my managers). Now I'm in a situation where I said I'm not happy about writing objectives or extending probation after the end of the original probation.
When asking them what the alternatives were for not agreeing to the extension they just said I have no choice but to write the objectives. I confirmed that all my initial objectives were hit, they said these objectives are different and nothing to do with my original objectives.
When asking if they think I'm capable they deviated and didn't reply.
I know law doesn't really cover probation but it is a bit unfair that it has come a month after my probation originally expired.
Are they in breach of contract?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. What would have the successful completion of probation entitled you to?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Full time permenant employment and notice period of two months rather than a week.
I'd also like to add that the contract does. It state if they will confirm successful completion. I only got a verbal from my manager that she is now saying she didn't confirm(only me and her in the room)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry meant to read does not state confirmation

So what is the exact wording of the clause on completion of probation please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Your employment by the firm is subject to satisfactory completion of a probation period of six months. During which time you will be required to demonstrate your suitability for the position in which you are employed. If you fail to meet the required standards for the role, your employment may be terminated. The firm reserves the right to extend your probation period if it is considered necessary, in which case the notice period referred to below will apply.Below it says the notice period for probation is one week.

Ok thanks. There is indeed nothing much in primary legislation about probationary periods but there is some case law. The relevant case in these circumstances is that of Przybylska v Modus Telecom Limited.

There, the employee Miss Przybylska, was employed on a 3 month probationary period, which could have been extended by the employer. During the probation her employment could be terminated with a week’s notice, with a longer period applying once the probation was completed. She was on holiday when her probationary period expired and the employer had not yet taken steps to extend her probationary period. A couple of weeks later she was dismissed with just a week’s notice, as required during her probationary period.

She complained of breach of contract and the decision was that she should have been paid 3 months notice, which would have applied after the completion of her probationary period. The Tribunal said that the assessment on whether to confirm the completion of her probation or extend it should have taken place during the probationary period and if it wanted to the employer should have extended the probationary period before it was due to expire. Therefore, if the employer has not taken steps to extend the probation before it expires, it would be assumed that it has been successfully completed and the terms that would apply following successful completion would be the valid ones.

In your case you cannot prevent a termination in the first 2 years of employment but you can argue that you are now at least entitled to the enhanced terms due on successful completion of the probationary period.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

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