Employment Probation for General Staff and VET Teachers

Employment Probation for General Staff and VET Teachers Procedure

Policy Code: HR959


The purpose of this procedure is to provide a structured process in order to:

  • establish whether an appropriate match has been made between the person, the position and the work environment, and whether the person is able to perform the duties of the position as required;
  • ensure individual staff are clear about the roles and responsibilities of the position they hold;
  • ensure managers/supervisors are aware of their roles and responsibilities in relation to the development and performance of staff;
  • develop open and effective communication between supervisors and their staff;
  • identify training needs;
  • commence building the commitment of new staff to the mission and goals of the University.


This procedure applies to all general staff and VET teacher appointments that have a probationary period.


Probationary Period: This refers to a defined period of time during which a new staff member is subject to formal assessment and provided with continuing constructive counselling and support to confirm progress and/or identify difficulties and develop strategies for their resolution.


  1. After commencement of employment, Human Resources provides the staff member’s manager/supervisor with initial probation information, including relevant forms and the number and dates of required probation review meetings. On receipt of the above information the manager/supervisor will meet with the staff member to clarify duties and responsibilities of the position, document an agreed set of tasks/objectives and performance standards to be completed during the probationary period and the process of formal and informal review.
    The first probationary review should be conducted at the mid point of the probationary period the second and final probationary review shall be conducted no less than 10 working days prior to the end of the probationary period. For probationary periods of more than three months, more reviews may need to be undertaken.
  2. The venue for a probation review should be arranged by the manager/supervisor so that the discussion can be held in confidence and without interruption. The process is interactive and provides the manager/supervisor with the opportunity to:
    • review progress. Performance issues should be dealt with at the time of occurrence, so there should be no surprises at the review meeting;
    • provide constructive feedback on the employee’s performance;
    • discuss problems and concerns, taking into account any mitigating circumstances;
    • provide assistance and advice;
    • identify any training needs;
    • clarify the requirements of the position.
  3. If the outcome of the first review is unsatisfactory, the manger/supervisor shall negotiate an improvement/learning plan and provide necessary training and support. Human Resources may be able to provide support for this activity. The plan may include additional reviews. This outcome is not uncommon as some new staff may take some time to settle into a new work environment.
  4. Records of Probation Meetings
    • The Probation Review Form shall be the basis of reviews and shall provide a written record.
    • A copy of the completed and signed-off Probation Review Form shall be given to the employee at the conclusion of each meeting, including the final meeting.
    • The employee shall be requested to sign each completed Probation Review Form to confirm that it is an accurate record of the discussion and to confirm receipt of their copy. If the employee does not believe that it is an accurate record, areas of agreement and disagreement are to be recorded and she or he may request a meeting with the Director, Human Resources or nominee.
  5. It is imperative that the final review be completed and the documentation forwarded to Human Resources at least ten working days prior to the end of the probationary period.
  6. The recommendation shall be one of the following:
    • Confirmation of the appointment; or
    • Annulment of the appointment.

Annulment of Appointment

The grounds for annulment of an appointment are:

  • An employee is unsuited to the position they hold, either by reason of performance or conduct;
  • The claims which the employee made in the selection process were either untrue or not substantiated by performance in the position

Where the final probation report to the Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor’s nominee indicates a recommendation to annul the appointment, the Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor’s nominee shall give an opportunity to the employee and, if the employee so chooses, their representative, to hold a face-to-face meeting with him/her before a final decision is made. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the employee to make a case for further consideration or provide additional evidence on why the appointment should not be annulled. The Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor’s nominee shall consult with the Director, Human Resources prior to meeting with the relevant employee.

The Vice-Chancellor’s or Vice-Chancellor’s nominee’s decision is final

Where employment is annulled following a probation review, notice of termination shall be given in accordance with section 661 of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 or payment in lieu shall be made.


The Director, Human Resources or nominee is responsible for:

  • providing advice to staff and managers/supervisor about this Procedure and its implementation;
  • coordinating implementation of this Procedure, including preparation of appropriate correspondence; and
  • providing training to managers/supervisors to ensure effective implementation of this Procedure.

Managers/Supervisors have specific responsibility for ensuring that probation for general staff and VET teachers is implemented for all such staff for whom they are nominated as line manager or supervisor and who are employed for a probationary period in the first instance.

Associated Documents