A Guide to Probation Period in Indian workplace

In India joining a new company often starts with a probation period. The probation period is required for all employees, including experienced experts as well as new hires and recruits. A new hire’s fit with the company and vice versa can be evaluated during the probation period. This time period aids the company in determining if the individual is qualified for the job. On the other hand, by being aware of their responsibilities and rights, employees can successfully finish the probation period. We will cover every aspect of the probation period that you need to know in this article.

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What is the Probation Period?

The probation period is a trial employment period. Anyone joining a new organisation has to go through this probation period. It allows the employer and the employee to understand each other better. While an employer can decide on the suitability of the employee for the position, the employee can also see whether the role is relevant or not. It helps in knowing each other better before making a long-term commitment. 

The probation period has some exceptions compared to regular employment provisions. Most companies reduce the notice period from one week to one month, as applicable. The duration of the probation also varies between 3 months to a year. During the probation period, the company provides extra supervision and training to help in learning and improving faster.

Probation is given in the following circumstances:

  • When a new employee joins the company.
  • When an existing employee is promoted to a new position.
  • When an employee has major performance issues.

What is the purpose of the Probation Period?

During the probation period, the employer will assess a recruit’s suitability for the job. They will check if the employee is capable of handling the given responsibilities and tasks. They can also judge the level of compatibility with other employees and managers. The behavioural pattern and way of responding will also be taken into account.

New employees can use their probation period to find out if they are comfortable in this job. Are the responsibilities given relevant to their skills, interests, and experience? This is also a good time to find out if the other things related to the work environment like commuting, working hours, office culture, and space suit them or not. This can help them to decide if the job is right for them.

The employer may determine if the employee is suitable or not by the end of the probation period. The contract may be terminated by the employer if the employee is not found suitable. On the other hand, employees may also opt to quit the organisation for greater opportunities.

Probation period salary

Employees working during the probation period are eligible for a salary. In government jobs, depending on the pay grade of the employees probation periods have fixed salaries. In the private sector, there are no fixed salaries. The probation period salary may be less than the salary of a permanent employee and may also be devoid of perks and benefits. Make sure that the probation period salary, leaves, and other benefits should be outlined in the employment contract.

Probation period salary and perks like free transportation and health insurance should be discussed during the employment process. If an employee is hired permanently after the probation, compensation should be discussed for greater transparency.

How to successfully complete a probation period?

A probation period is a time for the new employee to learn, understand and interact with different people. During a probation period, proper training and guidance should be given by the employer. This makes the employees enthusiastic about the company and its responsibilities. Here are some tips to ensure that every new employee gets a good experience during probation. 

Strong communication

Proper and timely communication between the employer and employee is crucial. An employer should communicate with the employee about their performance and how they can improve. Praise for good work and constructive criticism will help the employee to work on weak points. Employees should feel motivated during the probation period.

Good performance management

Performance management is crucial for both the employee and the employer. It will help the employer to monitor employee performance and give them feedback. Employers can create performance reports, that can be handy when deciding on permanent employment.

Regular meetings

Meeting with the employees regularly during the probation period is advantageous. These meetings can be a great platform for the employees to speak openly about any concerns. They can check if they are performing according to the expectations or not. This will aid them to improve their overall performance.

Healthy and positive attitude

Employer constantly monitors the employees during the probation period. This can make time stressful for the employees. An employee should always keep in mind the bigger picture. They should have a healthy and positive attitude towards work as well as their peers. This positivity will help them to learn from their mistakes and improve their weak points.

Tracking progress

A probationer should maintain a planner for short and long-term goals. It will help them to remain proactive and increase productivity. Employees should constantly track their progress. This will help them to improve on their weak points and excel. 

Know the problems

Managers should talk about the issues that new employees are facing. Whether it’s regarding any technical aspect of the job or some tools that they need. Managers and employees should analyse the problems together to understand the reason behind them. They should jointly come up with a plan to resolve the problem. 

Extension/Termination of probation

There are three possible results for a probation period review. Employees can either complete their probation and become permanent, have it extended, or get fired. This choice should be made by the employer before the probation period expires. The probation period may be extended by the employer as long as they are not satisfied with the employee’s performance. The employee should receive the appropriate notice or reimbursement in the event of termination.

Probation period rules in India

Many judicial cases have set up the status of a probationary employee. Even if probationary employees don’t get the benefits of a permanent employee, some rules need to be followed by both sides.

Here are the rules:

  • A probationer must give prior notice before terminating the services. If not done so, they may face legal consequences. During the probation period, the employee may have to undergo some training and tests as needed by the job profile.
  • In a recent case, the Supreme Court of India gave orders that the probation period could not exceed more than two months. However, it can be extended to a maximum of 4 months if the agreement between the company and the employee is inconsistent. It should be according to the Industrial Employment Standing orders Act, of 1946.
  • The probation period may not, except in extraordinary circumstances, be longer than a year. Under no circumstances may an employee be held on probation for a period more than twice the usual duration.
  • The provisions of the contract that violate the Act’s Standing Orders must be rejected and cannot be applied to the employee.
  • The employment of a probation employee may be terminated by the employer with or without prior notice. Such termination has not been deemed a curtailment under Subsection of the Industrial Disputes Act, Section 7. (2).
  • The appointing power has sole authority to terminate a probationer’s employment. If the authority determines that the probationer’s performance or behaviour is inappropriate, they are free to terminate the probationer’s services without providing an explanation.
  • At the end of the probation period, a probationer employed by the company cannot automatically be regarded as a permanent employee unless the company issues an official confirmation.

What happens after probation?

Successful completion of the probation period helps the employee to get a permanent position in the company. Being recognised as a permanent employee gives job security. As a regular employee, one will get all the benefits and perks that such employees get.

Employers may judge a probation employee’s behaviour in addition to productivity and performance. The way that employees engage with one another and their general outlook on work and the workplace is very important. Salary and other benefits for a probation period can be enhanced after becoming a regular employee. The conditions of the contract could also vary. You can now request notice durations that range from one to three months.

Both employees and businesses might benefit from the probation period. It gives the employer the chance to assess the employee’s suitability for the position. Additionally, it aids workers in determining whether the job is a match for their qualifications, interests, and experience. The Industrial Employment Act of 1946 must be followed by businesses that seek to impose a probationary term. Employees should put in their best effort to win over their employers, and employers should provide adequate training to their staff. Each party benefits when the probationary term is successfully completed.

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