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Probation period in the UK.

Learn about the probation period in the UK thanks to Horizons’ up-to-date guide.

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Probation period in the UK — Overview

Probation periods, also known as ‘probationary periods‘, or ‘trial periods’, are common in UK employment. Here we explain the key rules that apply if you wish to introduce a probation period for your UK employees. 

What is the standard probationary period in the UK?

The standard probationary period in the United Kingdom is three months. During this time, an employee is typically given a chance to prove their worth to the company and establish themselves in their role. Once the probationary period has been successfully completed, the employee will usually be offered a permanent contract.

Can an employer extend the probationary period in the UK?

The probationary period may be extended if an employer feels that the employee needs more time to demonstrate their skills or if there are concerns about their performance.

Can I dismiss an employee during their probation period in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, employers can dismiss employees during their probationary period. However, dismissal must be carried out in line with the contractual terms agreed upon at the start of employment. Employers must ensure that they follow a fair process when deciding to dismiss an employee. If an employer does not follow a fair process, they may face legal action from the employee.

Do employees in the UK have to give notice during the probation period?

If the employee wants to leave during the probationary period, they must give their employer at least one week’s notice. After the probationary period has ended, the usual rules regarding notice periods apply

Frequently asked questions

During the probation period, the notice period the employer is required to provide in order to terminate employment is 1 week.

During the probation period, the notice period the employer is required to provide in order to terminate employment is 1 week.

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