Probation is a testing time for new employees. Not only are you learning a new job and working with new people, but you are also being assessed as to whether you are suitable for this work. Probation can result in ongoing employment, or in termination of your employment.
What is “probation”?
The purpose of probation is to judge your suitability for a job. It is to
provide a period of training for the work and to allow an assessment to be made
of your aptitude and capacity to do the work once trained. You must be informed
in writing of the terms of your engagement before you commence your new job.
This must include if a probationary period applies and, if so, the expected
duration of the period and advice regarding the maximum duration of the period
(EA Schedule 1, c3.2 (b)).
How long does probation last?
The NT Public Service Employment and Management Act (Part 5, c32) says that
the probation period will be 6 months for permanent (ongoing) employees. This
period may be extended for up to a further 6 months if there are performance
issues, training requirements or absences from the workplace that preclude a
full assessment. You should be advised in writing at the 6 month mark if your
employment has been confirmed, terminated or if probation is to be extended, and
if so why.
What should happen during a probation period?
When you start your new job, you should be appointed a supervisor. This
person will advise you of your work responsibilities and the standards of work
and standards of conduct that are expected of you. The period of probation can
then be used to monitor your achievements against these criteria, as well as
your attendance and workplace conduct. You should receive adequate training to
do all the tasks you are required to complete. Informal feedback should occur
throughout the process, but you should also have a formal assessment at 3 months
and 6 months. You should have the opportunity to respond to any comments about
your progress and be given copies of any documentation relating to your
probationary period. It is important that you also keep notes on your work and
What happens if I do not agree with any of my probation assessments?
You must sign off on your Probation assessments. If you do not agree with
your supervisor’s comments, you have the right to question and add your own
comments. You also have a right to be represented by your union in any meetings
about your performance or the probation process. If your employment is to be
terminated during the Probation period, you must be advised in writing 14 days
prior to the decision taking effect. You then have this 14 day period to request
the Commissioner of Public Employment to review the decision. You union can
assist you with a review.
It pays to belong!
Your union can provide you with advice and assistance during probation and
throughout your career. NTPS CPSU members are working together to improve our
working lives. Join today here or
ring 1300 137 636.