Probationary Period

This document identifies employing unit responsibilities during an employee’s probationary period and explains associated administrative procedures.

The probationary period is considered an extension of the Civil Services examination and is the final step in the hiring process. The purpose of the probationary period is to provide a time for the new employee to adjust to the job and for the employer to determine whether or not the employee demonstrates the ability and motivation to furnish satisfactory service.

Responsibilities of the Employer During the Probationary Period

  • To orient the new employee to the unit by instructing and coaching him or her in the requirements of the position, explaining performance standards, and acquainting the new employee with unit policies such as attendance and breaks.
  • To monitor the employee’s performance and schedule periodic times to review and discuss progress on the job.
  • To identify and correct mistakes and problems as they occur, rather than letting them persist.
  • To decide whether to bring the employee to status or to recommend dismissal.

Completion of the Probationary Period

  • A probationary employee automatically becomes a status employee at the completion of the probationary period. The length of the probationary period is either 6 or 12 months of employment, whichever is applicable to the job classification. A Notice of Probationary Period will be sent to departments upon the hiring or reclassification of an employee by the Staff Human Resources Office Records section. The purpose of the notice is twofold. The notice will inform the department of the duration of the probationary period and the exact date upon which the employee will automatically go to status unless some formal action such as resignation or dismissal intervenes. Certification to a status position indicates that the individual has met the required performance standards. It is not necessary for departments to initiate any paperwork to bring an employee to status. The second purpose is to inform the supervisor of his/her responsibility to train and evaluate the new employee and to provide clear instructions as to what to do in the case of a less than satisfactory employee.

Dismissal During the Probationary Period

  • An employee may be dismissed at any time during the probationary period. The employee must be informed in writing of the reasons for the dismissal. Supervisors are encouraged to counsel employees who are having difficulties in an attempt to resolve the problems; however, when problems persist and corrective efforts have proven unsuccessful, a department is not obligated to retain an unsatisfactory employee for the full probationary period.
  • The Staff Human Resources Office must be informed in writing of the date of the dismissal and the specific reasons for the dismissal. This is to be done by submitting a copy of the letter which was given to the employee and a Change of Status form.
  • A dismissal during probation is not subject to formal discharge procedures, and the reason for dismissal is generally not reviewable, except in cases where there is a question about whether the reason for dismissal has been discriminatory or inconsistent with University equal opportunity policies.

Advance Notice of Dismissal

  • Although there is no requirement that a probationary employee be given advance notice of dismissal, an effort should be made to notify the individual before the termination date. Advance notice to Staff Human Resources is imperative when the employee being dismissed has seniority rights to another class, since the employee being displaced is entitled to 15 work days notice in accordance with Civil Service rules.

Employees with Retreat Rights

  • Staff Human Resources will advise dismissed employees of their seniority rights in other classes, if any. Should an employee have retreat rights to a class for which there are current placement opportunities, the employee will be referred as the only candidate to fill the requisition last received in Personnel. If the employing unit withdraws the employee requisition rather than accept the employee, the requisition may not be resubmitted for a period of 90 days. If the employing unit offers the vacant position to the employee and the employee refuses to accept the offer of continued employment, the employee will be considered to have forfeited all bumping/retreat rights. In such event, the employee will be placed on the re-employment register for that class.
  • In the absence of current vacancies, the employee’s bumping rights will be determined by his or her relative seniority in the class. In the event the dismissed employee has more seniority than others in the class, the employee will bump the least senior employee in the class on campus as prescribed by Civil Service requirements. The unit in which the least senior employee is located is obligated to accept the bumping employee or cancel the position.
  • An employee exercising his or her seniority rights may be entitled to a higher salary than the amount in the budget line of the position in which the individual is placed. Any additional salary funds required will be the responsibility of the gaining unit.

Further questions concerning this policy statement should be directed to the Staff Human Resources Office, Placement section, (217) 333-3109.