Academic Probation

Academic Probation (Higher Education) Policy

Policy Code: HR954


The purpose of this policy is to guide the Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Deans or nominees in determining whether an appropriate match has been made between an employee, the position and the work environment, and whether the person is able to perform the inherited requirements of the position.


This policy applies to all continuing and fixed-term academic appointments employed for six months or more that includes a probationary period.


Term Definition
Performance Work related activities expected of an employee and how well those activities are executed. This includes inappropriate behaviour and conduct.
Probationary Period: The probationary period is a defined period of time during which a new employee's performance and conduct are subject to formal assessment. During this probationary period, the employee is provided with continuing constructive counselling and support to confirm progress and/or identify difficulties and develop strategies for their resolution.
Probation Plan A formal probation review form used to capture information on an employees’ probation progression, assessment and performance.
Manager/supervisor or nominee An employee who has designated responsibility for managing and/or overseeing the performance, development and conduct of other employees. 

Policy Statement

1.      An employee who is appointed to a continuing or fixed-term academic position at the University for six months or more will be required to complete a probationary period.

2.      In determining the length of the probationary period, the University will consider the employee's qualifications, experience and duration of appointment.

3.      For fixed-term appointments, the probationary period will be normally not more than half of the duration of the appointment.

4.      For continuing appointments, the probationary period will be normally up to 24 months. In cases where it is necessary for the employee to demonstrate research and/or publication activity, the probationary period may be up to 36 months.

5.      The employee will be advised of the length of the probationary period including the name and position of their manager/supervisor through the letter of offer or contract of employment, prior to commencement of employment.

6.      At or as soon as possible after commencement of employment, the new employee will undergo an induction process at which time the probation review and requirements are to be explained.

7.      Probation reviews are to be an interactive and positive process providing the employee the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and attributes.

8.      Where performance concerns are identified, a clear statement of the issues and improvements required will be outlined on the probation review form and discussed with the employee.

9.      The Dean or nominee will decide on the action to be taken based on the probation review information.

10.    Probation maybe extended for a period of no more than six months to allow the employee to address performance and/or conduct issues. Probation may also be extended in circumstances where the employee has taken an extended period of approved leave.

    Termination of Appointment

    The University may terminate an appointment if:

    • an employee is unsuited to the position they hold, either by reason of performance or conduct; and/or
    • claims made by the employee during the selection process were either untrue or not substantiated by performance in the position.

    Any decision to terminate employment during the probationary period will not be made until the employee has completed twelve months service, unless a probation period of less than twelve months is stipulated in the contract of employment.

    Appeal on decision to terminate employment

    Where a recommendation to terminate an appointment is made, the employee has the right to appeal the decision in accordance with the process set out in the Academic Probation (Higher Education) Procedure.


    People and Culture is responsible for:

    • providing advice to employees and manager/supervisors about this policy and its implementation;
    • coordinating implementation of this policy, including preparation of appropriate correspondence;and
    • providing guidance where required to manager/supervisors to ensure effective implementation of this policy.

    The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), the Dean or their nominee have a specific responsibility for ensuring this policy of Academic Probation is implemented for all employees in probationary periods for whom they are nominated as line manager/supervisor.


    The Academic Probation (Higher Education) Policy will be implemented throughout the University via:

    1. An announcement notice under the 'FedNews' website and on the University policy website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy, and/or
    2. Information sessions to Deans, Deputy Deans and academic managers/supervisors.