Is it fair/legal to for an employer to add probationary period in restructuring/redundancy scenario, wherein they require employee to apply for restructured positions in same department with exactly similar skill set. If employee has worked as Permanent position in that organisation for several years, in that case as well- will they need to go into probationry period?


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    What are they proposing will happen if the probation period "doesn't work out"? e.g. would the person be fired (or 'employment ended') with no payout, receive their redundancy payment as if they had been laid off originally, something else? Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 16:47
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    As an additional comment cos I was too slow to edit -- I have seen situations before where there was a "trial" period (not sure if that's the same as what you call a probation period, hence asking) for people who had been re-deployed into a related but not identical role (This was in the UK, England specifically). This allowed I think it was 3 months on each side to see if the new 'related' role was a fit for that person. Is this the sort of thing you are referring to? Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:04
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    Are you being asked to sign a new employment contract? Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 7:29
  • @GregoryCurrie not clear yet, but there's slight mention about 5 weeks probation period.
    – vic2
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 9:21
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    I would just like to note that if you decide to "rock the boat" so to speak and start questioning the legality of it all, you may be the one selected to be made redundant. Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 9:35

2 Answers 2


It depends what you mean, if this is a redeployment into an "alternative suitable role" then yes, it's normal and your legal right to have a trial period (this also works for the business to make sure you're actually suitable for the role) which is 4 weeks, it can be extended if necessary such as further training needed. Let's assume, for the rest of this, that it is a 4 week trial (or probation as you've mentioned) period.

If you leave before or at the end of the 4 week (or agreed) trial period, or your employer terminates the contract due, and it is due to the role not being suitable ^, then you'll be switched back to being redundancy and qualify for your payout. If you stay longer than 4 weeks, outside of an extension agreement, then you've effectively accepted the job and won't be entitled to redundancy pay if you choose to leave.

^ Suitable being down to differences between the old and new contract being far out of line. If you choose to not take on the role, during a trial, and it is a suitable one then you might end up not getting a payment because you have "unreasonably refused an alternative suitable role" There are exceptions to this, it is down to negotiation with each individual business.

Sources: UK Gov, and trade union experience

  • It's good that you can also terminate the probation period and switch back to getting your redundancy payout if you don't like the role. Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 14:02
  • @DJClayworth not quite as easy as that though, and I'll update the answer to reflect it, it is possible to not get the redundancy pay if it is considered a suitable alternative yet you decline it "unreasonably", you would then forfeit your payment, but if it's not suitable and you end it then you do.
    – MattR
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 15:37
  • Answer doesn't need updated - but it's worth any future reader also remembering that although you would still be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if they decided the trial didn't work out - you would not be entitled to the super-shiny please leave now package they may have also offered.
    – user81330
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 15:53
  • If an employee is pregnant. In that case how does it works out in such scenario?
    – vic2
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 18:31
  • Well that is something slightly different, but that's not what your OP asked. Pregnancy does carry a protected characteristic, but as far as workers rights go, so long as they have done everything they can to find a suitable role and not put you under detriment due to your pregnancy then they are probably covered. That is definitely an employment lawyer question.
    – MattR
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 19:01

Ask a lawyer.

(if in the UK you could go to the Citizens Advice Bureaux)

My gut instinct is that they can put you on probation but would get into hot water if they used it as a workaround for redundancy pay and protections.

I don't really know though. Could be a non-issue or could be a huge deal for you. This seems like the kind of issue where you need an expert opinion based on previous cases.

  • Ireland also has a similar service called Citizens Information. https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/contact_us.html Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 13:39

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