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Probation Policy

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions of this document click the link in the main navigation (grey) bar above or contact policies@scu.edu.au for versions that expired pre August 2012.

Section 1 - Policy Statement

Part A - Policy Declaration

(1) This policy sets down the framework and principles for managing probationary service where employment is governed by the University's Enterprise Agreement.

Part B - Policy Description

Objectives

(2) This policy outlines responsibilities of the University and its employees in relation to probationary employment.

Scope

(3) This policy applies to all employees covered by the University's Enterprise Agreement.

Part C - Content and Implementation

(4) The purpose of a period of employment on probation is to determine the suitability of the employee to the position in terms of their performance of the duties and ability to carry out the full range of responsibilities. Satisfactory completion of a period of probation validates the appointment decision and provides evidence of the employee's aptitude and capacity to perform the duties of the job.

(5) The University may require an employee who is offered an appointment with the University to serve a probation period. The term and conditions of the probation must be reasonable and in determining the length of the probation period, or whether to waive the requirement to serve a period of probation, the University will consider the:

  1. nature and circumstances of the work to be undertaken;
  2. employee's prior service at the University or at other institutions; and
  3. employee's qualifications and experience.

(6) Probation details are determined in advance of the employee commencing employment. Any likelihood of an extension of the probationary period must also be made clear in advance to the employee.

(7) Probation periods may be extended for up to six months for professional staff and up to 12 months for academic staff in exceptional circumstances.

(8) Where an employee's appointment includes a probationary period, any continuation of the contract of employment beyond the initial probationary term is to be decided during or prior to the end of the probationary period.

Supervisor Responsibilities

(9) Supervisors are responsible for:

  1. establishing standards of performance consistent with the requirements of the position, and the communication of these to the employee;
  2. monitoring of performance and the provision of regular feedback to the employee during the probationary period;
  3. appropriate supervision to monitor progress or identify difficulties and provide opportunity for their resolution;
  4. documenting probationary issues as appropriate;
  5. timely conduct and documentation of probationary reviews; and
  6. advising employees of their responsibilities and their rights.

Employee Responsibilities

(10) Employees are responsible for:

  1. participating in regular performance reviews;
  2. consulting with supervisors, seeking advice and expressing views on job expectations and any other aspect of work; and
  3. seeking opportunities and taking responsibility for career development.

Appointment

(11) Where an appointment includes a probationary period, the letter of offer must include the:

  1. terms and conditions applying to the probationary period;
  2. length of the probation and any prospect of an extension; and
  3. for professional staff, a relevant statement of duties; or
  4. for academic staff, a copy of the Minimum Standards for Academic Staff.

Conditions of Probation

(12) If problems arise during a period of probation, the employee must be given an opportunity to respond to any allegations of poor performance.

(13) Where it is found that the employee is not meeting the terms of the probation, the employee is to be:

  1. counselled by their supervisor;
  2. given an opportunity to rectify the problems; and
  3. advised of the possible consequences if their performance doesn't improve to the required standards of performance within the probationary term.

Probationary Periods

Professional Staff

(14) Up to six months with possible extension of up to an additional six months.

Academic Staff

(15) Up to three years with possible extension of up to an additional 12 months.

Probationary Reviews

(16) During the probation period the employee will be regularly provided with feedback on their performance. They will be offered relevant available professional learning opportunities, and will be provided with regular supervision to confirm progress or identify difficulties and develop strategies for their resolution. Where concerns are raised during this period the employee will be given an opportunity to address the performance issues.

(17) In line with procedures, documented reviews are to be carried out at regular intervals.

(18) Reviews are conducted by the employee's supervisor. However, for academic employees, final reviews are conducted by:

  1. Head of Work Unit (HoWU); and
  2. Deputy Head of School or where there is no Deputy Head of School, the HoWU will nominate one other member of the University's continuing academic staff at the same or higher classification level as the probationary employee.

(19) At the final probation review the employee will be advised of the outcome and given an opportunity to respond.

(20) A final probationary review may be conducted at any time during the probationary period.

Termination of Employment

(21) Where the Vice Chancellor receives a recommendation not to confirm an employee's appointment, the employee will be invited to comment on any procedural matters associated with the recommendation before the Vice Chancellor makes a decision concerning termination of employment.

(22) In the event that a recommendation to terminate employment is made, HR Services will advise the employee of the Vice Chancellor's decision in writing.

(23) Where an employee's appointment is to be terminated, they are entitled to the following notice periods:

Period of continuous service Period of notice
Less than one year: one week
One year and up to the completion of three years: two weeks
Three years and up to the completion of five years: three weeks
Five years and over: four weeks