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Last revision: 12/11/2023
Available formats: Word and PDF
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This End of Probation Letter is for use by employers to notify an employee about the end of their probation period.
It can be used for employees who have successfully completed their probation, and will continue to be employed. It can also be used for employees who were unsuccessful with their probation, and who will not be employed beyond the probation period.
For successful employees, we can confirm the date on which the probation period will end (or the date on which it ended, if it has already ended). We can also confirm the date on which they will commence their ongoing employment (this is usually the day after the probation period ends), and can congratulate the employee on their achievement. The transition to ongoing employment is a big event for new employees, so taking a moment to acknowledge the employee and to provide them with some written words of encouragement, can help foster employee morale and give them pride in their job. This letter provides a simple and effective way to do this.
For unsuccessful employees, we can confirm the date on which the probation period, and their employment, will end. We can advise them what to do if they require further information. If the employer is terminating an employee's employment (even during the probation period), the National Employment Standards (as set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Commonwealth)) require the employer to provide notice in writing. This letter is an easy way to comply with these requirements.
How to use this document
If the employee has been unsuccessful in their probation, and is going to have their employment terminated, then it is important that the employer complies with any legal requirements in relation to the termination of employment. These may be set out in any applicable industrial instrument such as an award or enterprise agreement, the employment contract, as well as the National Employment Standards.
For example, under the National Employment Standards, employees may be entitled to a minimum amount of notice if their employment is being terminated (even if it is being terminated during the probation period). Many employees may also be entitled to a minimum amount of annual leave and personal leave under the National Employment Standards. These entitlements also still exist even during the probation period. However, in many cases, an employment contract or an industrial instrument may say that the employee is entitled to more than what is provided by the National Employment Standards.
Further information about what an employer must do before terminating an employee can be obtained from the website of the Fair Work Ombudsman. Small businesses may also need to consult the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code. It is important that the employer understands its obligations in relation to this matter. If an employer breaches some of these obligations (for example, by terminating an employee prematurely), then the employer could face penalties for unfair dismissal, and may be unable to remove the employee.
If the employer is unsure about how much notice they must provide, or what else they must do before terminating the employee, then they should seek legal advice.
Once the employer understands how much notice to provide, then they should make sure to provide this letter to the employee early enough so as to comply with those notice requirements. Alternatively, the employer may provide payment in lieu of that notice.
If the employee has been successful, then there are not minimum notice requirements to consider in relation to this letter. The employer may simply prepare the letter and provide it to the employee.
The letter may be printed and signed by the employer, and they may provide a copy to the employee. The employer should keep a copy for their own records.
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the National Employment Standards (NES) apply to most employment situations in Australia.
However, in addition, many employment situations are also governed by modern awards or enterprise agreements. If such an award or agreement applies, then that will set out some additional minimum standards with which the employer must comply.
In addition, general principles of contract law, as provided by the common law, will apply to any employment contract.
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