HR Toolkit

HR Policies & Employment Legislation

Sample Policies on Common HR Topics

Hiring - probation

A period of probation:

  • Allows for the process of conducting reviews and assessing employee performance prior to granting full employee status
  • Can help avoid future problems by finding out early on if the person and the job aren't a good fit
  • Is for a specific amount of time (it may include guidelines around possible extensions)

The probationary period as outlined in your organization's policies should be stated in the letter of offer. The policy on probation may address performance reviews, details of communication, eligibility for benefits, the possibility of extending the probationary period, and termination including provisions for notice/severance if employment is terminated during the probationary period. Termination during or at the end of the probationary period must be in compliance with employment legislation.

All jurisdictions allow for a period of time at the beginning of employment when no notice of termination is required. However, if an organization has a probationary period that exceeds this period of time, notice or payment in lieu of notice is required. For example, in British Columbia, notice of termination is required after three months. Therefore an employer who decides to terminate an employee at the end of a six-month probationary period will have to give notice or payment in lieu in accordance with British Columbia employment standards.

It is important to sit down with the new hire to explain the details of the probationary period and to discuss expectations.


Sample policies

Probation - National Organization (PDF - 39KB)

  • Defines and provides the rationale behind the probation period
  • Sets out details of review
  • States the probation periods for different levels of position
  • Covers possible extension and termination

Probation & Continuing Appointment - Canadian Interuniversity Sport (PDF - 32KB)

  • Defines guidelines for the probationary period (6 months)
  • Includes a section on termination during probation

Probationary Period - Big Sisters Big Brothers of Edmonton and Area (PDF - 35KB)

  • Includes length of probation period (varies), details of appraisals, conditions for extensions and granting ongoing status
  • Deals with promotions (allows employee to be reverted to a similar classification within the agency if unable to suitably perform duties of the new position)