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Yesterday I had a meeting with management about my probationary period. Today is has been 4 months since I started at the company but the probationary period is supposed to be 3 months. I didn't mention anything to them because I assumed it would just be over after 3 months, but then when I got my paycheck for the month it didn't increase as it states in my contract.

In yesterday's meeting, when I asked about passing my probationary period, they said that they would not sign it off until I complete the task that I'm currently working on.

I am a junior software developer and initially I was meant to complete this task with the help of my senior developer, and he made that clear to management. They have moved the senior developer on to a project that they think is more important. The problem with the task I am currently working on is that I have never done it alone before, and it is working with a third party, and these third parties have a habit of delaying things in regards to credentials, testing, etc.

I am planning to go back to them today and ask them to reconsider what they have said about my probation. I feel that the probationary period should be assessed based on how competently I did the work during the 3-month period, and how I contribute to the company, rather than the work I am about to do in future.

Am I correct in thinking this? Or should I just knuckle down and finish my task without saying anything?

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    What country/state are you in? – Gregory Currie Mar 21 at 7:47
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    This is in the United Kingdom. In my contract it does state that the probation period can be extended at the management's discretion - but doesn't this mean they should have informed me about it at the 3 month line? – Jeremy Mar 21 at 7:56
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    @Jeremy I don't mean to worry you but could they be dragging your probation on so they can easily fire you after the project is done? – Xander Mar 21 at 8:09
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    Start looking for a new job. – dan-klasson Mar 21 at 8:19
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    Probation period is "probation". If the task you've been given was the probation it should be included in annex. Probation Period CAN be extended but BOTH sides must agree to this. THEY are also on probation period with you. You can decide if you want to work for such company. Do you? – SZCZERZO KŁY Mar 21 at 9:37
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You really need to check your contract (or fine prints).

The company is entitled to judge your performance (deliverable), but that's allowed only if it has scope for it.

For example:

  • The earned leave accumulation is not dependent on your performance.
  • The salary revision, on the other hand, is one of the dependent cases.

Check what is mentioned about the period of probation in your contract.

If there is a mention about a fixed timeline for the probation period to get over and you're supposed to move to a permanent status - then legally they cannot hold that transfer. Sure, the paycheck can be varied based on "performance", but that's not the only perk of being a permanent employee.

However, if the length of probation period depends on the performance review process - then company reserves the right to extend that.

Question is: Does extending the period without "prior" information / indication to you ethical?

No. They "should" have communicated this to you, instead of waiting for you to get back to them. To me, this appears to be a "sloppy" action from their side.

For you, the best course of action is to:

  • Ask for a formal review of your work done.
  • Ask to set a tangible target (which is not "imposed", rather discussed, considering all the possibilities)
  • Ask to set a new timeline for next review (yes, it cannot be "until you finish", that's not a "target").
  • You have nothing to loose by asking them to be more specific about their current intentions. You can then plan based on their response (and your honest assessment of how well you are performing). – Sean Houlihane Mar 21 at 9:58
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As you mention you stay in the UK and yes it is common this thing happened in the UK. Your probation will ends only when you are notified that it has ended. The responsible person will tell you when your probation will end. Some contract will state when will your probation automatically end on the expiry of the probation period but not in the UK. I've seen many cases where your probation status ends when the employer confirmed it.

Maybe it is reasonable for you to ask why your probation has extended and you not been informed about that. The employer needs to inform you of the new duration after your probation period ends. What I can see, the employer will extend your probation when you did not meet their basic criteria for joining the team. You need to improve your work after this.

I suggest you finish your task until it's done.

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    Does that mean I'm still on probation? it's only been 24 years since I started the job, and they have never actually told me my probation had ended. – Simon B Mar 21 at 23:17

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