Introduction to this document

Notification of probation period review meeting

At the end of an employee’s probationary period, you’ll need to decide whether to confirm their appointment, extend probation or dismiss them. You’re not obliged to have a review meeting with the employee but it’s useful to enable both parties to give constructive feedback, and it could even mean you agree to extend probation rather than dismiss. Use our letter to set up the meeting with the employee.

Review Meeting

When an employee reaches the end of their probationary period, you’ll need to review their performance and conduct to assess whether they’re suitable for the position in which they’re employed. Our Probation Period Review Form enables line managers to write up their formal assessment of the employee and to set out their recommendations. Most employees who are subject to a probationary period will be entirely satisfactory and you will therefore wish to confirm their appointment. However, before you’ve reached the decision stage, it’s worth having a review meeting with the employee. That way, you can give them constructive feedback on their performance and conduct, highlighting any areas which were unsatisfactory or would require improvement, and in turn they can set out their opinions on their job and working conditions.

No legal requirement

Having a review meeting isn’t a legal requirement but it can be useful for both parties. If you’re going to dismiss the employee or extend their probation, they’ll have a better understanding of why you’ve reached this decision. For your part, it may help you appreciate why an employee has performed unsatisfactorily and, if this is due to lack of training or support, inadequate communication, problematic working relationships, faulty equipment or anything else that might be outside the employee’s control, it may mean that you decide to extend probation to give them a chance to improve and to enable you to take steps to address the problem, rather than dismiss them. It can also ensure you don’t make the same mistakes with other new employees. Even if the employee’s performance and conduct have been good so you don’t have much to say to them, they might still have some insightful feedback to give to you.

Letter contents

Our Notification of Probation Period Review Meeting invites the employee to a review meeting. It confirms the details of the meeting and outlines its purpose and the three possible outcomes of it, i.e.: (1) satisfactory completion of the probationary period and confirmation of the employee’s continued employment; (2) extension of the probationary period to allow further time for improvement; or (3) unsatisfactory probationary period and the employee’s dismissal. In the case of extension of probation, our letter states that you’ll also provide reasons why, as well as confirm the duration of any extension. If you do wish to extend probation, first check that the employee’s job offer letter or employment contract allows for this and, if so, for how long. In the case of dismissal, our letter again states you’ll provide reasons why. Whilst you’re not legally obliged to provide written reasons for dismissal, it’s better to do so just in case the employee later tries to allege they were dismissed either for an unlawfully discriminatory reason or for one of the many “automatically unfair” reasons for dismissal. These claims don’t require any minimum period of qualifying employment. Finally, we’ve included an optional paragraph to allow for the employee to be accompanied at the meeting. This isn’t a legal requirement and is unnecessary where the employee’s conduct and performance have been satisfactory. If you’re contemplating dismissal though, it’s probably worth keeping it in.