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Probation Periods

Page updated 27 May 2024

Probation Periods

All staff commencing in the University are required to complete a probationary period as a standard condition of their employment. Below is an outline of UCD’s Probationary Statute, a summary of the process and frequently asked questions for both employees and managers.

As part of our strategy to provide a supportive, developmental environment and culture, all new joiners of UCD will undergo a probationary period. During this time, employees can expect a probation management process, designed to integrate new employees into the university. Probation is an extension of the selection process and is operated in an open, clear, and supportive manner to enable the University to make the appropriate decision as to whether the person should be retained in employment.

Probation Statute (Effective December 2022)

The first few months in a new organisation can be a critical time for a new employee. A great deal of effort is needed to help that individual learn essential tasks and adapt to the University environment. For this reason, a probationary period exists for all new permanent & temporary employees.

For the employee: Probation provides an opportunity to show that they can demonstrate and maintain consistent satisfactory standards of job performance and behaviour.

For the manager: The Probationary period allows them to monitor new employees’ progress in the job to establish their suitability for continued or permanent employment having regard to their standard of work, attendance, conduct and behaviour.

The probationary process enables new joiners to adapt to their new position and environment and to become familiar with the working procedure of the University.

For those who satisfactorily complete the probation process, their experience within the process should provide clear evidence that the University is committed to the retention and development of employees who are motivated to perform to the required standards.

As there is a requirement in the Probationary Management Statute that employees under probation do not take up any secondment posts in the University during the first six months of employment, employees are required to inform their line manager if it is their intention to apply for a secondment post during this period.

This section contains a summary of UCD Statute 30, however, in all cases the original Statute in the Governance Library remains the definitive source of information on the topic.

The Probation Process

Equity, effectiveness and accountability underpin the probationary process. New employees will receive regular feedback on their performance to help them to deliver at the required standard. Any discussions will always be a two-way conversation with employees given an opportunity to respond to comments on their performance, ask questions or to ask for more training or support.

The process has been developed to ensure that managers are fully supported when conducting probation management reviews and also to ensure that employees are provided with all necessary support to perform successfully in their roles.

Details of Probationary Period

Staff members receive their contract containing probation period details. At this point, the staff member should familiarise themselves with the Probation Statute.

Continuous Review Process

Formal reviews and informal continuous review meetings will be arranged by the line manager. The review schedule may vary, depending on the individual role, however, it should consist of:

  • an initial probation meeting,
  • a review probation meeting, typically at mid-point,
  • a final review meeting.

Probation review meeting will typically assess that the probationer’s standard of work is satisfactory. That attendance, including punctuality and sick absence record is satisfactory and that conduct, and behaviour are of the required standard.

The review meeting is also an opportunity for the probationer to discuss how they are performing in their role. This is an opportunity to ask questions and to ask for more training or support where they might need it.  

A Documented Process

As the Probationary Meetings are held, the Manager should complete the Probationary Period - Record of Meeting Form and provides a copy to the staff member.  The (opens in a new window) Managing for Success Toolkit (HR Intranet) can be utilised in preparing for these meetings.

Confirmation of Successful Completion

Upon successful completion of the probationary period, the Head of School/Unit completes the Probationary Period - Confirmation of Outcome Form and sends a copy to both the staff member and to (opens in a new window)hrhelpdesk@ucd.ie.

Confirmation of Non-Successful Completion

Each review meeting should provide the necessary information, to inform the Line Manager regarding the employee’s continuation in employment. Where an employee fails to meet the required standards, they will be informed at the review meetings of their deficiencies. The employee should be in no doubt that, if their performance and/or conduct does not improve, it will result in the termination of their employment. A probationer will have the right to appeal this decision in accordance with section 18 of the Statute.

Frequently Asked Questions

Probationary clauses are outlined in individual contracts of employment.

All permanent employees will serve an appropriate probation period of 12 months. Appropriate probation for temporary employees will be for the duration of their contract up to a maximum of 12 months

Probation can be waived in exceptional circumstances, subject to approval by the CP/VP.

Once you have successfully completed a probationary period (while in continuous employment), you will not be required to complete another probationary period. When you commence in your new role, your line manager will support you during your induction period to help you settle into your new role.

All information pertaining to your probationary period will be outlined in your contract of employment. Your direct line manager will be your point of contact in relation to your probationary period.

No breaks in service: Your previous probationary period would be taken into consideration and would be reduced by 6 months.

Break in service: If greater than 26 weeks, then the contract would be regarded as a new commencement and a full probationary period would be applied.

Yes, they are separate but the probationary period for faculty employees will run concurrently with their outlined induction period.

You should speak to your line manager who will provide you supports such as training or coaching.

Yes, the probationary review process is a two-way process and as a probationer, you will be given an opportunity to give your own feedback or voice concerns.

Your designated HR Partner will be able to provide advice and guidance on how to manage a probation period.

If the decision was made to terminate a probationer’s employment (in accordance with paragraph 13 of the Statute) the probationer may appeal this decision. Notice of appeal must be submitted within five working days in writing to the Head of School/Unit.

The probation policy and process are separate to P4G, but as the probation process encompasses several elements of P4G (objectives, feedback and development supporting  performance in role), and as it must be successfully completed, it takes precedence over P4G until it is successfully concluded. The probation process requires meetings to be held on commencement of the role and during the probation period. All eligible employees should either be engaged in a probationary process or P4G. Where the probationary process is still underway for an employee it should continue until its full completion and thereafter P4G will apply.

Once a probationary process is completed successfully, participation in P4G can commence. The only difference will be that the objectives and development plan will reflect a shorter timeframe adjusted to align with the next P4G cycle

UCD Human Resources

Roebuck Offices, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 4900 | E: hrhelpdesk@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)