Probation – new starters


Know the process!

It is normal for new starters to be put on a six-month probation period on Bands 100-500. This will be mentioned in the official contract you receive when you get the job. Always check your contract before you sign it because it can affect you financially – occasionally it is possible to waive the probationary period, but this not normal for employees new to the University.

Click here to read the procedures for the Probationary Period as set by the University.

If you believe these are not being adhered to, please contact Unison. Your probation can be extended by three months, and only three months, if necessary and justified in a Probationary Report, of which you should receive a copy. Your manager should flag any issues with you three months into the probation period to give you time to meet your targets. If this meeting hasn’t happened and you are told last minute that your probation will be extended, please contact Unison. You aren’t allowed under the policy to appeal and must do the three months, but you should be given an appropriate amount of time to hit your target/ improve any issues. To not do so is unreasonable.


Career progression

If you are moving jobs internally, even across Colleges, then moving up by oneBand within the same type of role has not traditionally incurred a probation period. This is Customary Practice, and to put you on probation would, in practical terms, mean you are being punished for making a natural career progression. If this happens, please contact Unison.

If you move up by more than one Band, e.g. from Band 300 to a Band 500, then it would be usual for the six months probation period to apply.


Probation and performance

Once you have started a job and signed a contract, you cannot then be put on probation after you have already started, no matter how many Bands you increase by. If there are issues with your performance, this should be dealt with via performance management and not Probation. If this happens to you, please contact Unison immediately – do not sign a new contract or any paperwork, or agree to being put on probation in the meantime, because this may be to your detriment.


Sickness or disability

If you are off work due to either sickness or a due a disability related reason for more than five days during your probation and are likely to have further absences, please contact Unison for further advice.

Please note – probation can impact you financially:

Not only are you not paid sick pay for six months (and for the three months extension if you are extended), you will not receive your increment the following August if you are still on probation on the 1st December preceding. For example, if you join the University on 1st April, your probation will expire 1st October. If you are extended by three months, your probation will therefore expire on 1st January in the next year. You will therefore be on probation on 1st December and will automatically be stopped from having your yearly increment in August when everybody else gets raise.


This is why staff need to know the rules and their rights regarding probation. If you are concerned about your probation, about a colleague’s probation, or see practice that doesn’t follow the rules, please contact Unison – we are happy to help and give advice to any members of staff. If it’s happening in your area, we need to know to do something about it!