HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

Extending probation

QUESTION

Dear HR Community Subscribers,

We are thinking about extending our probation for every new employee from three months to six months and then again to nine months if we deem that the employee's performance is still unsatisfactory.

We understand that this practice is not common and most organisations will probably extend probation to a maximum of six months and that is usually for managers from what I have read from the archives.

Our view is that it has been an extraordinary year that requires unprecedented measures and we would love to hear your opinions about this.

We are an investment firm.

Thank you and seasons greetings.

Sharon

 


 

HR Poll: Can probation be extended from 3 to 6 months and then again to 9 months?

Yes: 28.57%

No: 42.86%

Maybe: 18.37%

Not sure: 10.20%

 


 

REPLIES & COMMENTS

Yes, you may - Sonia

Only one-time extension from 3 to 6 months, after that it will be termination or request staff to resign. Unless from the start, the probation is stated as 6 months, then maybe you can extend to 9 months - LCH

Extending the probation period is possible if the employer sees potential in the person. However, this has to be mutually communicated and agreement between 2 parties (employer & employee). Extension tenure needs to be stated and the outcome after the extension period need to be communicated. It will not be productive nor beneficial to both parties to prolong probation beyond 9 months. Thank you - Annie

9 mths probation is too long, the employee will definitely resign. Extend another 2-3 mths should enough for the employee to improve. if he/she didn't improve, show that this job is not suitable for him/her - Jenny

Hi Sharon, I will assume that you are referring to Singapore employees. Under the employment act, there is no regulation around the probation period. Therefore, you are able to extend probation from 3 to 6 or 9 months. This will fall back to how your company wanted to measure performance. Questions to ask yourself or management: What does it mean to other employees whereby employees can still be in the company if performance is not satisfactory? Does the company strive for a performance-driven culture? and if the target is not hit, will it affect the bottom line and by extending probation is it fair to both employee and the company? I may not have the context to your company, but above are some questions to think about before extending probation. At the end of the day, it is good to make sure that whatever decision made is fair to the employee and company. Due to covid-19, I agree that we may need to extend probation from 3 to 6 months to assess their sales personnel performance (9 months is it too long? - of course that depends on the business nature and the type of sales). But for employees under support teams, they may be able to display their performance within the first 3 months (e.g. Admin & accounting roles) Hope the above can help you in the thought process on your probation policy. 🙂 - PYW

Hi, Sharon, This is a common question I get from clients based across APAC.  In Australia where I am based, there is a legislative impediment to extend it beyond 6 months. In other SEA countries, this restriction does not apply, but it may become a contract issue. In summary, as long as there is no local law preventing it and you clearly explain the rights of the employer in the contract to do it, you should be able to introduce new rules relating to extending probation Good luck - Hugh

Extended probation is not uncommon, the length is subjective. Proper performance tracking including training, guidance and reason to justify the needs of out of the norm extended period. - Evelyn

I don't see the point of extending probation to 9 months. The purpose of extended probation (3rd to 6th months) is for the staff to achieve the goals set for him/her. This should be clearly communicated. If the staff still did not meet the expectations after the 6th month, then I wouldn't waste the company's resources on him, and he would not want to waste his time in our company. If he is not suitable for the current role, then maybe both parties can explore other positions within the company to see if he will be able to strive. However, if you are planning to extend his probation to 9 months because it is difficult for him to perform due to the current situation of the market, then it is not his fault. Perhaps your company should do some self-reflection to see if you are setting unrealistic goals for the staff. I think 9 months probation is unfair for the staff, waste of resources for the company, and demoralizing for the team (it may cause damage to the company culture too). These are my personal opinion. - Kelly

 


HRSINGAPORE | HR Community Message | Extending probation


 

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