Is there a way to extend a probationary period legally?
Here’s the scenario. You have a probationary employee. You can see that he is really trying his best, but in the evaluation tests, he seems lacking. You can see that he has the potential, but he needs more time to catch up.
Here’s the catch: the end of his 6 month probationary period is coming up soon. What can you do then?
Not a lot of people know this, but yes, you can extend the probationary period to give the “failing” person another shot. Here are my prerequisites to keep you safe when you use this extension:
First, open the talk of the option being on the table, but the request must come from the employee. Please have the employee issue you a “request letter” asking if he can extend the probationary period to give him one more chance. This is to protect you from any allegation that you were the one who wanted to extend the period with the intention to circumvent the requirement to consider them regular after 6 months. Keep the boundaries solid by documenting it.
Next, it has to be meticulously documented. If you grant it this request, issue a memo reflecting this request and the decision which would then be attached to their 201 file.
How long can you extend this? The extended period has no legal limitations, but my safe recommendation is 2-3 months max. Any further than that could be construed as an attempt to circumvent the regularization requirement after 6 months.
Furthermore, I feel that an extra 2-3 months is more than enough to show if the probationary employee would be a good fit.