Starting a New Job

What Is a Probation Period and What Happens After It?

June 6, 2021

A new job in India often starts with a probation period. It is a good way to explore whether you fit well into a given position, while your employer can decide on your suitability for the position. Understanding your rights and obligations during a probation period can help you complete your probation successfully and transition into a regular job. In this article, we explain what a probation period is, the common probation rules in India, what happens after the probation period and how to pass your probation period successfully.

What is a probation period?

A probation period is the trial employment period in a new organisation or a new job role. It allows you and the company to understand each other better before making a long-term commitment. While a company can decide on the suitability of the candidate for permanent employment, it gives you an opportunity to see whether the role is relevant to your interests, skills and abilities.

During this period, the company usually grants you immunity from some of the provisions of employment applicable to regular employees. For example, if the regular notice period for job termination is one month, it may be reduced to one week during the probation period.

A company may put you on probation in the following circumstances:

  • When you join a company as a new employee
  • When you get promoted to a new position
  • When you have a significant performance issue

The probation period varies with the industry, company and position but usually ranges from one month to one year in India. During this period, the company provides additional supervision and training, either to help you learn a new job or to help you improve your performance.

Read more: How to Succeed in Your New Job: The First Week, Month and 90 Days

What is the probation period in software companies?

The probation period in software companies commonly lasts for a period of one month, three months and six months. In some cases, it may extend up to one year. Companies use the probation period as the final level of assessment in determining whether the new recruits perform on the expected lines and are suitable for the organisation. The exact probation period varies from company to company.

Probation periods in software companies usually provide for a shorter notice period, ranging from one to 12 weeks. Some companies may exempt the probation period for experienced professionals, while others may use it as an opportunity to observe your motivation level and attitude towards the work and the workplace.

What is the probation period in government jobs?

The probation period for most of the central government jobs is two years. UPSC or Union Public Service Commission and SSC or Staff Selection Commission, both follow a probation period of two years. As such, all positions related to Class III and Class IV services, such as Assistants in Central Secretariat Service, Tax Inspectors in Central Board of Direct Taxes and Assistant Enforcement Officers have a probation period of two years.

The probation period for state government jobs varies with the state. However, just like the central government, most state governments follow a probation period of two years.

Just like in private sector jobs, you should take all precautions to complete your probation period successfully in government jobs as well. You should see it as a learning opportunity to take up the real responsibility of a permanent job.

Probation period salary

You are entitled to salary during the probation period. Your employment contract would dictate the terms of salary, leave entitlement and other employment benefits.

Government jobs usually come with a fixed salary during the probation period, based on your pay grade. However, private sector companies have much more flexibility in their compensation policy. You should negotiate your salary and employment benefits like leave entitlement, health insurance and conveyance before accepting a job offer.

What happens after the probation period?

Successful completion of probation period helps you secure a permanent position in the organisation, which in turn gives you better job security and employment benefits.

Employers evaluate your suitability for a job during the probation period. They provide training and monitor your performance during this period. Your team lead or manager provides periodic feedback to help you perform better. At the end of the probation period, companies review your performance in order to decide whether you should be inducted into full-time employment. Based on the result of such review, companies may recruit you as a regular employee, terminate the employment or extend your probation period.

Regular employment

If your employer is satisfied that you are capable of handling your job responsibilities well, they would recruit you as a regular employee after the probation period. In addition to your productivity and performance, employers may also judge you on the basis of your interaction with other employees and your general attitude towards work and the workplace.

Once transitioned into regular employment, you may be entitled to a higher level of salary and employment benefits. There may also be a change in your contractual obligations, such as a longer notice period, since you would now be under a regular employment contract.

Termination of employment

A probation period usually allows your employer to terminate the employment more easily and with a shorter notice period. It also gives you similar flexibility. If you feel that another job would better meet your expectations, you may leave the company at the end of the probation period. Similarly, if your employer concludes that your skills and abilities could be better utilised elsewhere rather than in the current job or company, they may decide to terminate the employment.

Extension of the probation period

Your initial employment contract may include a provision for extension of your probation period. Your company may also extend your probation period through a separate order passed with your consent.

An extension of the probation period is usually provided in the following circumstances:

  • If the original probation period is not enough to evaluate your performance
  • If there are changes in your work, which require further observation
  • If your company wants to offer your an intermediate assignment before moving you into a permanent position

Read more: On-the-Job Training for Efficient Staff Development

Probation period rules in India

Here are some common rules on probation period in India based on court rulings and common business practices. The actual terms of probation depend on your employment agreement.

  • You must serve your notice period if you want to leave your company during the probation period.
  • An appointment on probation is an appointment on a trial basis.
  • A probation period may be for a certain period of time or for an unspecified period.
  • Since appointment on probation is not permanent employment, termination of service during probation does not amount to dismissal or removal from service.
  • Employers can summarily terminate the services of probationary employees.
  • Employers can extend the probation period.
  • If you are appointed on probation for a certain period of time, and you continue to work in that position even after the expiry of such period, you will be deemed to be continuing on probation.

How to pass your probation period successfully

Here are some actionable tips to help you pass your probation period successfully:

Develop your skills

A probation period offers a good opportunity to observe and learn new skills. You should try to understand how the industry functions and familiarise yourself with the unwritten rules of the company. Consider finding new areas where you can add value to the existing work setup.

Focus on your performance

Be proactive towards your work and keep measuring your progress. Focus on achieving the objectives set as the criteria required to pass the probation period. Demonstrate your skills, abilities and interest to work for the company. Be responsive, and work hard to meet the deadlines. Treat your probation period as a regular position, and give it your best.

Be receptive to feedback

Pay attention to what your supervisor says. Feel free to ask for feedback. Accept your manager's feedback gracefully, and work on the suggested areas of improvement.

Maintain a positive attitude

Take things positively, and be enthusiastic about your work. Build a rapport with your colleagues and seniors. Socialise professionally at the workplace. Having good relationships in the workplace demonstrates your interpersonal skills. It also helps you get feedback on your work in an informal manner.

Impress your employer

In addition to performance, companies often watch your behavioural pattern. Hence, it is important to make a good impression on your employer during the probation period. Take every initiative you can to stay professional. Dress in business formals according to your company's dress code and reach office in time. Organise yourself well for higher efficiency and better time management. Be polite and courteous to everyone in the office.

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