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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have a question regarding probationary periods when

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Hi there I have a question regarding probationary periods when starting a new role with a new employer
Assistant: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: Only with my employer as they are a small family run business with only 4 employees they do not have a HR dept and I’ve not spoken to a lawyer yet
Assistant: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I am paye employed and do not belong to the CWU or other union
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: yes

Hello, my name is Ben, I am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

What is your specific question please?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello Ben

Hi there. What is your probationary related question please?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
My question is
I started a new job 8th April and was put on 3 months probation. This is stated in my contract but does not state expectations of the probation, it merely says that it can be extended at the end of the 3 months my employment can be terminated etc
Obviously 3 months from 8th April is 8th July this Tuesday just gone 8th October I finally had a sit down meeting with my employer where he proceeded to tell me that my work was great no complaints but the bad points were that I don’t like to drive first thing in morning, sometimes I let my personal life get me down at work and that I’m moaning about getting up at 3:30 am and that I hadn’t met his expectations and seem to just want to come to work and take a wage after doing my job
He then said he wants to extend my probation period which actually finished 3 months ago

Is this legal ?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Can they extend my initial 3 month probationary period 3 months after it has ended? Even though my employer has not informed me, set out in writing detailing their expectations?

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. Whether a probationary period has been successfully completed was considered in the case of Przybylska v Modus Telecom Limited.

 

The employee 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, which is what she would have been entitled to but only if she was still in her probationary period.

 

She made a claim for breach of contract, arguing that as she was outside of the initial 3 months probationary period she should get the longer notice period. The employer in turn argued that they never confirmed whether she had passed her probation and as such she is still regarded as being on probation and only entitled to one week’s notice.

 

The court’s decision was that she should have been paid 3 months’ notice, which would have applied after the completion of her probationary period. The assessment on whether to confirm the completion of her probation or extend it should have taken place during the probationary period and if the employer wanted to extend it, it should have done so 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 any terms that would apply following successful completion would be the valid ones.

 

If there was not going to be a change in terms following completion of probation, then whether you are still on probation or not makes no difference to you legally. This is just an internal permanence measurement tool. Your rights are really dependent on your length of service and you actually have no unfair dismissal protection until you have been there for at least 2 years. It means you can still be dismissed for more or less any reason as long as it is not on discriminatory grounds - this is the case whether you are still on probation or not.

 

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Not really no, I want to if an employer can extend a probationary period 3 months after the initial 3 month probation has finished.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I want to know*

Yes they can as long as it does not affect your main terms of employment like pay, benefits, etc

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Right ok thank you for your time

All the best

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