Policy

Probation for Professional Staff - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy outlines the formal probation period for professional staff.  The policy supplements the probation provisions specified in the Enterprise Agreement.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Authorised Officer – the officer authorised to exercise the relevant HR power or function in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule

Enterprise Agreement – The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 - 2017

Probation - Initial period of employment when the suitability of new staff to have their appointment confirmed is determined

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to continuing, research (contingent funded) and fixed-term staff employed in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement.

4. Policy Statement

Probation provides an opportunity for the supervisor to determine whether a new staff member meets the standards required for confirmation of the appointment.

Probation entails setting and clarifying work performance standards for new staff as well as providing support to ensure that these standards are met. This policy is consistent with the principles of equal employment opportunity, fairness and natural justice.

The University aims to provide an environment which maximises staff contributions to University goals. Effective use of the probationary process can help ensure that staff are given the support and guidance they need during the early stages of their employment and establishing a sound basis for effective job performance.

The objectives of probation are to:

  • Provide the supervisor with a structured means of evaluating and providing feedback to new staff;
  • Provide staff with the opportunity to adjust to their new work environment and work procedures through effective supervision, guidance and support; and
  • Determine whether the overall work performance of the staff member meets the requirements of the University for confirmation.

5. Periods of Probation

The standard periods of probation for professional staff are:

Type of Appointment

Probation Period

Fixed-term less than 12 months

Pro-rata of 3 months with the possibility to extend in exceptional circumstances to a maximum of six months.

Fixed-term 12 months or greater

3 months with the possibility to extend in exceptional circumstances to six months.

Continuing (Contingent Funded) Employment

Where this is a second or subsequent contract in the same position, no probation period will be applicable

Continuing Employment

 

HEW 1 to 7 – 3 months with the possibility to extend in exceptional circumstances to six months.

HEW 8 to 10 - 6 months.

The expiry date or duration of the probation period must be specified in the offer of appointment. In exceptional circumstances, the expiry date or duration of the probation may be extended in accordance with the provisions of the Enterprise Agreement. Any extension to the probation period will be approved by the Authorised Officer.

The duration of probation can be expressed as commencing on the first day of employment and continuing until the completion of the relevant period of weeks or months of work in the position under the direction of the nominated supervisor.

A period of probation will not apply to a second or subsequent fixed-term contract with the University in the same position. In other circumstances where a new contract is to be  offered to an existing fixed-term or continuing staff member, and the position is either substantially different or at a higher classification level to the staff members existing position within the University, a supervisor will have the discretion to decide whether or not a period of probation will apply. Advice must be sought from the Human Resources Division whether a probationary period can apply.

6. Cessation of Employment

The employment of a probationary staff member may be terminated on or before the completion of the probation period, the duration of which is specified in the offer of appointment. The staff member must be advised of any adverse material which the Authorised Officer intends to take into account in the decision not to confirm the appointment and provided with an opportunity to respond to any such material.

Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)

Procedures

Probation for Professional Staff - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures outline the process relating to probation for professional staff. These procedures supplement the probation provisions specified in the Enterprise Agreement.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Authorised Officer – the officer authorised to exercise the relevant HR power or function in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule

Enterprise Agreement – The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 -2017

Probation - Initial period of employment when the suitability of new staff to have their appointment confirmed is determined

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to full-time and part-time continuing, research (contingent funded) and fixed-term staff employed in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement.

4. Procedures Statement

During the probation period the onus is on the probationer to demonstrate the qualities necessary for continued success in the position. If these qualities are not established to the satisfaction of the University, employment can be terminated by way of a simple but fair process. Conversely, once probation is confirmed, the onus rests with the University to demonstrate failure of the staff member to perform satisfactorily before any disciplinary action can be taken.

5. Commencement

At the beginning of the probation period, the supervisor must confirm with the staff member the duties to be performed as set out in the duty statement and, if required, clarify expectations.

This is done in the context of setting expectations for the performance appraisal conducted as part of the Recognition and Development Program for Professional Staff.

6. During Probation

Supervisors must monitor performance and provide regular feedback to probationers during the period of probation. At or about the end of the first half of the probation period, the probationer and supervisor must meet to:

  • Discuss progress against the agreed performance standards and goals, and
  • Identify any performance issues that may need to be addressed during the remainder of the probation period and corrective measures to be implemented.

The supervisor must keep a record of the meeting, which is held in the organisational unit.

Before the end of the probation period, a decision will be made to confirm the appointment or cease employment. When employment is terminated on or before the completion of the probation period, the provisions relating to termination of employment in the Fair Work Act 2009 and the Enterprise Agreement do not apply. The appointment may be terminated at any point during the probationary period (including any extension thereto) as soon as it becomes evident that the probationer cannot meet the standards of performance required. Advice should be sought from Human Resources as soon as practicable if there is a view that the probationer will not meet the required standards of performance.

7. End of Probation

Notification will be sent to the Supervisor regarding the date that the probationary period is due to be completed. The onus remains with the organisational unit to ensure that the probation period does not expire before the appropriate monitoring and assessment has been carried out.

8. Confirmation of Appointment

If the Authorised Officer confirms the appointment, the staff member will be advised accordingly. If the recommendation is to terminate the staff member's employment, subject to the approval of the Authorised Officer, the relevant Human Resource staff member, in consultation with Employee Relations, will take the necessary action.

9. Cessation of Employment

If the employment is to be terminated during the probationary period the University must provide the staff member with written notice of termination of employment and provide a period of notice of two weeks or payment in lieu if the notice period is not required to be worked.

Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)

Forms

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Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)
Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)