This guidance was last updated on December 2013


The guidance below is applicable to all new appointments within the support and academic-related staff groups. Please note that the exact process may vary by specific staff groups:

  • For Departmental Administrators (and equivalent roles e.g. Head of Administration and Finance etc), please refer to the specific guidance here.
  • For staff within UAS, please refer to the specific guidance here.
  • For Academic posts, guidelines on the appropriate length of probation can be derived from here, and the process equivalent to probationary reviews is summarised here.

See also:

Purpose of probation

The purpose of the probationary period is to ensure that a new employee is able to gain a full understanding of the requirements of the post and to achieve a satisfactory level of performance, within a reasonable period of time, in the early part of their career with the University. It is also intended to help identify any training and support that is needed for the employee. Probationary periods are specified in contracts when an employee joins the University. Probationary periods should be incorporated into the overall ongoing personal development review process.

Length of probationary periods

When deciding on the appropriate length of the probationary period, the new employee’s relevant skills and experience for the post should be considered, along with the time it is thought that it will take for the employee to be carrying out their duties at the required standard.

  • The probationary period for university support staff is normally between three months and one year.
  • The probationary period for academic-related staff is normally between one and two years.

The length of the probationary period for employees on a fixed-term contract will depend on the length of the contract, and it should not normally exceed half of the fixed employment period. Please seek any further advice from your HRBP.

QRG: IP2 Managing Probation (129kb)

Probation for internal transfers and promotion

Probationary periods for staff changing jobs internally, or being promoted should only be used where there is any gap in employment (7 days or longer) between the two appointments, or where the new post is substantially different and/or at a significantly higher grade. A clear set of objectives should be set and regularly reviewed as part of the new probationary period. Should the employee not be able to demonstrate satisfactory performance during this period, performance and capability procedures must be initiated promptly, with advice sought from the appropriate HR Business Partner. Exceptionally, (with the advice from the relevant HR Business Partner), an employee may be confirmed in post earlier, in the event of the progress of the probationary employee exceeding expectations.

Notice period during probation

The length of notice of termination of employment will normally be stated in the employee’s contract.

The required notice period during probation (original or extended) will normally be:

  • one week for support staff, and
  • one month for academic-related staff.

In certain cases the reasons for dismissal on grounds of conduct may be such that dismissal is summary i.e. without notice and without payment in lieu of notice.

Recording probation

In order to ensure good record keeping and maintain accuracy of employees’ records, it is advisable to record key details and dates of the probation for every new employee in CoreHR.

It is also recommended that line managers keep a written record of any discussions and reviews that take place.

Core QRG: IP2 Manage Probation (104kb) – guidance on updating employees’ probation information.

Probationary due dates can be monitored by running the  PERDEP40_Probationary Dates Due report.